[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

After Grammar lesson #4: Whose or who’s line is it anyway?, I was asked to write a post on the proper use of who and whom.  This can be rather complicated, but in the interest of simple, here is the rule in a nutshell:

  • Who and whoever are for subjects.  They also follow and complete the meaning of linking verbs.
  • Whom and whomever are for all kinds of objects (direct, indirect or prepositions and infinitives, etc.).

Here are examples with the proper use of each word:

  • Whoever books their trip in advance typically saves money.  (Whoever is the subject of the verb books.)
  • She is the woman who is representing that up-and-coming author.  (Who is the subject of the verb is representing.)
  • She doesn’t care whom agrees to publish her next novel.  (Whom is the direct object of the verb agrees.)
  • The percentage of the book’s royalties goes to whomever she contracts as her agent.  (Whomever is the direct object of the verb contracts.)

After reading this grammar lesson, who is even more confused, whom avoids the use of these pronouns altogether, or are you fluent in grammarspeak?