In the “English Rules” section of our website, GrammarBook.com, you will find our simple explanation for determining whether to use who or whom.
Briefly, this is the trick:
who = he (subject pronouns)
whom = him (object pronouns)
Example: Who/Whom is at the door?
He is at the door.
Example: For who/whom should I vote?
Should I vote for him?
To determine whether to use whoever or whomever, the he/him trick still applies:
he = whoever
him = whomever
Rule 1: The presence of whoever or whomever indicates a dependent clause. Use whoever or whomever to agree with the verb in that dependent clause, regardless of the rest of the sentence.
Give it to whoever/whomever asks for it first.
He asks for it first. Therefore, whoever is correct.
We will hire whoever/whomever you recommend.
You recommend him. Therefore, whomever is correct.
We will hire whoever/whomever is most qualified.
He is most qualified. Therefore, whoever is correct.
Rule 2: When the entire whoever/whomever clause is the subject of the verb that follows the clause, analyze the clause to determine whether to use whoever or whomever.
Whoever is elected will serve a four-year term.
Whoever is the subject of is elected. The clause whoever is elected is the subject of will serve.
Whomever you elect will serve a four-year term.
Whomever is the object of elect. Whomever you elect is the subject of will serve.
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Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2007, at 9:41 pm
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