IELTS: Who vs Whom Difference and Uses With Examples


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jun 21, 2023 01:52 PM IST

Wondering how to eliminate an extra 'm' when choosing “who vs whom” to use in IELTS? The addition of ‘m’ to the word “who” changes the “whom meaning”, making it an objective pronoun, leading to confusion. Also, sentences with who put emphasis on the subjective pronoun. Read on to avoid who vs whom mistakes.

IELTS: Who vs Whom Difference and Uses With Examples

How to use who vs whom accurately? The addition of the letter ‘m’ to the word ‘who’ has well created a lot of confusion for IELTS test takers. Knowing “whom meaning” and how to use it in a sentence precisely may result in an improved IELTS band score. Similar is the case with understanding “who meaning”, and its application to create grammatically correct sentences for the IELTS exam.

Well, the pro tip to eliminate your confusion at first hand is this: You should use “who” if you can replace the word with ‘he’ or ‘she’. However, you should use “whom” if you can replace the word with ‘him’ or ‘her’. Interested to know a free bit of advice? Trust your intuition! This may sound silly, but this is the fact that penetrates beyond your analytical mind. How? Remember, the ears are the guides! There are several situations where whom in a sentence may be technically right but seem fussy or awkward, such as "Whom did you speak to?" vs "Who did you speak to?". Using such sentences with ‘Who’ in rare situations is acceptable.

There have always been instances when choosing between who vs whom might be challenging. However, since English is essentially an elastic language, it does not always adhere to rigid grammatical rules. In this article, we will talk about the grammatical differences between who vs whom, how to use whose in a sentence, etc. Further, we will also discuss about whom sentence examples as well as whom question examples that will help you achieve a high band IELTS score.

Who vs Whom: Primary Difference

When to utilise who and whom depends on a few grammatical rules. "Who" is a definite personal pronoun. The pronoun "whom" is an objective one. Simply said, this means that "who" is always the subject of a verb and "whom" is always the object of a sentence.

The subjective pronoun, "Who", identifies the person who does an activity. As in, "That is the boy who made the goal in the game”. Considering the boy did the scoring, it is the subject of "scored". The action is thus directed towards "whom", the objective pronoun. For example, "Whom do you like the most in your life?" It serves as the "like" object.

Keep in mind that whom is both simple and complex. It is the form of who is in the object position of a sentence — the objective instance of who. The tricky part is defining precisely what an object's spot is in a phrase.

On the other hand, because who is a pronoun, it may be utilised to describe a noun or noun phrase that has previously been mentioned or does not require to be expressly identified. Where the word whom would take on the function of the verb or fulfil the implications of a preposition, who is used instead.

Apply to Universities Abroad Based on Your IELTS Score! 

Who vs Whom: General Grammatical Rules

The general grammatical rules for using who/whom explicitly states the following two points mentioned briefly:

  • Who is best to use when referencing the sentence's subject

  • Whom do you use as a reference to a preposition's object

Who vs Whom: Exceptional Case

Using the general grammatical rules has an exception. That is to say, there is one situation in which you must always use whom: immediately following a preposition at the exact start of a clause or sentence. To whom, for instance, did you address that letter? (Not "to who"). A discussion is presently taking place with my professor, for whom I am conducting some research on agriculture (Not “for who”).

Who vs Whom: The Critical Grammatical Rules

Similar to the distinction between "she" and "her", "he" and "him", "I" and "me", and more, there is a disparity between "who" and "whom." "Who" is a subject, just like other pronouns like she, he, and I. Therefore, the intent of the verb is carried out by the subject. However, "whom" behaves like an object in sentences like her, me, and him. The individual who is referred to/ about/ for whom the act of action is being performed is, therefore, that person. Furthermore, with whom, one of whom is the appropriate word to use following a preposition rather than "with who, one of who”.

Who vs Whom: Tips to Spot the Difference

As discussed, the pronoun "who" is similar to "I" or "he". Additionally, "whom" is a pronoun just like "me" and "him." Therefore, occasionally rewriting the statement and changing who/whom to another pronoun will help you better understand the connections. If "he" or "she" may be used in place of the term, you should do so. Nevertheless, if you have the option to use "him" or "her", do so.

Recommended Reads:

1200 Most Commonly Repeated Spellings of Words in the IELTS Listening Test

IELTS Essay Topics - Types, Format, Tips

Grammar for IELTS: Importance, Tips & Rules to Follow

Minimum IELTS Score You Need for Admission in Top B-Schools Abroad

Who vs Whom: How to Use Them Correctly? (With Examples)

After having discussed till here, can you identify when your pronoun could be an object of a preposition or verb? That’s simple: Try replacing who or whom with the subjective-case pronouns she, he, or they. Next, try using her, him, or them instead of the objective-case pronouns. To illustrate the examples given below, keep in mind that you could have to temporarily alter the syntax while you validate it.

Example 1: Who/ whom ate my pizza?

Try “she” and “her” instead: (i) She ate my pizza and (ii) Her ate my pizza. Obviously, "her" does not seem good considering the pronoun is the sentence's subject, but the subjective she does. This results in:

Correct Sentence: Who ate my pizza?

Incorrect Sentence: Whom ate my pizza?

Example 2: Who/ whom should I talk to about labelling food in the refrigerator?

It is important to note that this sentence is interrogative, which means it is a question, and that the subject, I, appears in the middle rather than at the start if we try to substitute "they" and "them" here. It will be simpler to determine whether the pronoun case appears more logical if you make it a declarative expression by shifting the focus to the start and converting it from a question to a statement i.e., I should talk to they or I should talk to them. The expression that you require is the objective one: whom. Further, the objective them sounds appropriate.

Correct Sentence: Whom should I first talk about my successful business strategy?

Incorrect Sentence: Who should I talk to about my successful business strategy?

In the end, questioning is also a good way to determine the right time to use sentences with who as well as whom in a sentence. In writing as opposed to speaking, the difference between who vs whom is typically more significant. Even native speakers typically overlook if you accidentally use the incorrect one when speaking. If you are taking the IELTS exam, you should make an effort to understand who meaning as well as whom meaning, and it is wise to be knowledgeable of the relevant grammatical principles.

Wishing to achieve a decent IELTS score but unsure of which universities abroad require a high band? Or, do wish to explore a list of institutions that accept IELTS scores? To know more, write to us at

Explore IELTS-Accepting Universities Across the World! 

You can share this post!

Admission Open 2024

Related Articles

Aug 18, 2023 04:28 PM IST

How to Apply for Masters in USA?

Aug 03, 2023 01:18 PM IST

Documents Required for TOEFL

Our Study Abroad Offerings

Popular Universities to StudyAbroad

Planning to study abroad?

Interested in Studying Overseas?

Connect with us and kickstart your learning journey for a rewarding experience!

By proceeding ahead you expressly agree to the CollegeDekhoAbroad Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.