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January 24, 2005




1. me
2. me
3. me
4. me
5. whomever
6. whoever
7. whoever
8. Who

These are the subject pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who, whoever

These are the object pronouns: me, you, him, her, it, us, them, whom, whomever

It doesn’t matter if you understand what that means. If you can keep the two groups straight, however, you’ll be all set.

In examples 1–4 above, just remove the extra person, and you’ll figure them out easily:
1. My boss gave the tickets to me (not I!). Thus: My boss gave the tickets to Buster and me.
2. Please keep that secret just between us (not we!). Thus: Please keep that secret just between you and me (not I!).
3. That’s an issue for me (not I!) to settle. Thus: That’s an issue for Muffy and me to settle.
4. The teacher yelled at me (not I!). Thus: The teacher yelled at Arthur, Francine, and me.

For 5–8, just break the sentence down to its simplest form and see whether you need a subject or object pronoun; then check the list.
5. You can bring him (not he!) to the party. Thus: You can bring whomever you wish to the party.
6. He (not Him!) is ahead in the polls. Thus: He always votes for whoever he thinks is ahead in the polls.
7. He (not Him!) was in the waiting room. Thus: I apologize for ignoring whoever was in the waiting room.
8. He (not Him!) is calling. Thus: Who shall I say is calling? (The “shall I say” is parenthetical, so it’s really just “Who is calling?”)


Yay! I was hoping you'd do a who/whom. One of my favorite bloggers uses it wrong ALL the time and it drives me crazy. People seem to have such a hard time with it, but I've always been able to figure it out, because my English teacher taught me much like you have here. Excellent.

Karen F

I got the me's and the first "whomever", but the rest of the "who"s were not as clear. I like your explanations, though I was rationalizing my use of "whomever" over "whoever" by thinking that it was being used as a direct object for a verb as in:

"Thus I apologize for whomever was in the waiting room." where I considered "whomever" to be the object of the verb. Is this making sense? Is it more correct to think of the whole phrase "whoever was in the waiting room" the object?

-Karen F


Yes, "whoever" would be the subject of the clause "whoever was in the waiting room," which is, in its entirety, the object of "apologize to."


Number 8 should be "Whom", yes? It would be the direct object in the sentence if normal word order was used.


No, in fact "who" is the subject of "is calling." The "shall I say" part is parenthetical. Thus, "Who is calling, shall I say?"

Clear as mud, eh? ;-)

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