ISLPR Language Services Blog
“Who” is nominative case, i.e. it is used as the subject of a verb. “Whom” is objective case and so is used as the object of a verb or preposition. The explanation for each of the following is given after the sentence below.
- I saw the man whom you told me about at work yesterday.
“whom” is the object of the preposition “about”. That one sentence is the result of joining two sentences together by turning one sentence into an adjectival clause:
I saw the man. You told me about the man at work yesterday. >> I saw the man whom you told me about at work yesterday.
- I saw the man who told me that you were at work yesterday.
Here two sentences have been combined with one becoming an adjectival clause:
I saw the man. The man told me that you were at work yesterday. (“The man” is the subject of “told”) >> I saw the man who told me that you were at work yesterday. (“who” is the subject of “told”.)
- Who will win the gold medal in this race? (“who” is the subject of “told” and so is nominative case.)
- Whom did they award the first prize to in last year’s competition? (“whom” is the object of the preposition “to”. One could also say, “To whom did they award the prize in last year’s competition?)
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Topics: ESL, problem words, who, whom