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#EngClass: How to use ‘who,’ ‘whom,’ and ‘whose’

‘Who’ and ‘whom’

Let’s start the post with a discussion on how to use ‘who’ and ‘whom’. People often confuse the use of these two words.

While it may not be that crucial in conversation, it’s very important to differentiate them in formal, written form.

Both ‘who‘ and ‘whom‘ are pronouns. Their major difference is that while ‘who’ is used as subject, ‘whom’ is used as object.



he, she, it



him, her

  • Subject is someone who is doing something.
  • Object is someone who has something done to himself.

‘Whom’ is often being followed by preposition (at, by, to) though it is not always the case.

Let us see examples on how to use these two pronouns correctly.

  • Who is going to send the letter? (Siapa yang akan mengirim suratnya?)
  • To whom should I send this letter? (“Surat ini akan dikirimkan kepada siapa?)


Here’s a tip: To determine which one you should use, you could try to answer the question first.

  • For the first example, the statement will most likely be “John is going to send the letter.” Since John is a subject, then you should be using ‘who.’
  • For the second example, the statement will most likely be “The letter should be sent to John.” John here is the recipient, so he is the object. Use ‘whom.’

Another trick is to turn the questions into statements. If you can replace John with ‘him,’ then you know you should use ‘whom.’

Yes, now you might notice that it is supposed to be “Whom to Follow” instead of “Who to Follow”. Twitter has been doing it wrong!



Now we are going to discuss the use of ‘whose’. It may sound a lot like ‘who’s’, but it’s different.

‘Whose’ simply means ‘belonging to whom’. It is used to state (relative pronoun) or ask (interrogative pronoun).

Check out the next examples to understand how they are being used as question and statement.

  • As question: Whose car is that parked in front of my house? (Mobil siapa itu parkir di depan rumah saya?)
  • As statement: The girl whose car was stolen is my sister. (Gadis yang mobilnya dicuri itu adalah adik saya.)

If you have more questions on how to use them, feel free to ask!


Compiled and written by @animenur at @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, June 1, 2014


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