I often hear many o’ folk attempting to make themselves look fancy by throwing out a whom here and there. If you really want to make a llama laugh, say something like, “Whom put this cruddy rubber cement on my brand new fanny pack?” Rubber cement and fanny packs aside, llamas will be laughing at that incorrect whom plopped in there, most certainly.
Although my good buddy Bryan A. Garner’s prophecy predicts whom growing rapidly archaic, I say something even more archaic to that notion: Nay! If llamas could wear hats, I’d tip mine to a good soul many of fortnights from now for using whom — only if used properly, that is.
I could recite some yawn-worthy rules here about correct who and whom usage, but I’d rather just chatter off a little trick an old professor taught me, Dr. Ruth Seymoure. Allow me to reiterate her wisdom to the best of my South-American camelid ability.
When you’re confused between who and whom, test out the following:
Who = he
Whom = him
(I could use she and hers, but men are so much more simple to understand.)
OK. So, take that he and him and plop it into your who or whom sentence. Huh? What? Watch, I’ll show you.
Who/Whom is sticking gum on Albert’s tail?
Now change that who/whom to he/him, and see which makes sense.
He is sticking gum on Alberts tail? Sure, that makes sense!
Him is sticking gum on Albert’s tail? No, you dope! That doesn’t sound right, now does it?
So, who it is.
Let’s try another! Here’s one you can use on your next phone call to City Hall.
To who/whom should I address my belligerent letter of disapproval?
Now, which would make more sense? You tell me.
To he should I address my belligerent letter of disapproval? That’s a bit odd-sounding, isn’t it?
To him should I address my belligerent letter of disapproval? Much better.
Him wins it, so whom it is.
Get it? The more you practice this quick little trick, the more you’ll feel like you’re learning English as a second language instead of a sixth. Got it? Good.
All for now,