Who, Whom, Whose

Generally speaking  in English, a sentence is made up of 3 elements:

 Subject  Verb   Object

  • Fred loves Mary
  • Jack hates football
  • Micheal spoke to Fred

Verbs are action words.

Pronouns

If you are talking about Fred, then you can replace Fred with a pronoun eg. “He” (Subject pronoun).

You can also replace the actually object names, eg. Mary with “her” (object pronoun)

So

Fred loves Mary            becomes                           He loves her

Subjects do an action:

  • He loves movies.
  • She goes to school.
  • We enjoy Chinese food.

Objects receive an action:

  • The teachers like him.
  • Thomas knows her.
  • The actor smiled at us.

Possessive forms tell us the person something belongs to:

  • Fred´s Bike is broken.                                                                    His bike is broken.
  • I like Mary´s new  book.                                                                     I like her new book.
  • The teacher graded our homework.

 

“Who” is a Subject Pronoun

We use “who” to ask which person does an action.

Examples:

  • Fred made the Birthday cake                                               Who made the birthday cake?
  • Mary is in the Kitchen                                                           Who is in the kitchen?
  • Micheal is going to clean the dishes.                                   Who is going to clean the dishes?

“Whom” is an Object Pronoun

We use “whom” to ask which person receives an action.

Examples:

  • I am going to invite Mary                                                     Whom are you going to invite?
  • He blamed Fred for the accident.                                        Whom did he blame for the accident?
  • He hired Micheal to do the job.                                             Whom did he hire to do the job?

“Whose” is a Possessive Pronoun

“Whose” is a possessive pronoun like “his,” “her” and “our.” We use “whose” to find out which person something belongs to.

Examples:

  • This Camera belongs to Fred.                                              Whose camera is this?
  • It’s Mary´s dog barking outside.                                          Whose dog is barking outside?
  • Micheals´cell phone                                                         Whose cell phone keeps ringing?

“Whom” Less Common

The form “whom” is becoming less and less common in English. Many native English speakers think “whom” sounds outdated or strange.  Especially when combined with prepositions, most people prefer to use “who” as the object pronoun. To most native English speakers, the examples below sound quite natural.

Examples:

  • Who did you come to the party with?
  • I don’t know who he gave the book to.
  • That is the woman who I was talking to.
  • Who did you get that from?
  • Do you have any idea who he sold his car to?
  • That is the person who I got the information from.

 

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