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“Who” Versus “Whom” on GMAT

"Who versus whom" is a frequently tested concept on the GMAT sentence correction questions. Watch this short video to understand the difference.

"Who" Versus "Whom" on GMAT

In GMAT sentence correction, you will find many questions where one answer choice utilizes the word "who" and another utilizes the word "whom". There is a subtle difference between these two terms, that determines where each is used. In this short article, we will cover how to determine the proper use of "who" vs "whom", on the GMAT.

The Distinction Between "Who" and "Whom"

The distinction between the words "who" and "whom" is actually quite clear; both words have the same meaning but "who" is the subject form of the word, and "whom" is the object form. Let us illustrate this concept through the following example:

Example 1 - Who/Whom is Tyler going to meet?
In order to determine whether "who" or "whom" is to be used, in this sentence, we must consider what role "who" or "whom" is going to play. If the word is going to play the role of the subject, then "who" is correct, and if the word is going to play the role of the object, then "whom" is correct. A careful reading of the sentence will show that the noun "Tyler" is the subject, as the sentence is asking for information about an action taken by Tyler; thus, the word "who" or "whom" will be the object. Therefore, in this sentence, the word "whom" is more appropriate and the correct sentence will be "Whom is Tyler going to meet?"

Conversely, if the words "who" or "whom" are to be used to as the subject of a sentence, then "who" is the appropriate option. For example:

Example 2 - Who is preparing the breakfast?
In this sentence, the word "who" refers to the subject, the one who does the action; therefore, the word "who" is the correct option.

One important thing to remember, regarding the use of "whom" and "who", is that if the voice of the sentence is changed, the other word must be used, as switching from passive to active voice, as vice-versa, reverses the subject and object. Please go through the following example, in order to better understand this aspect of the concept:

Example 3 - The breakfast is being prepared by whom?
In this sentence, the noun "breakfast" is now the subject that is taking the action "being prepared"; thus "whom" is now the object.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.