If you’re like me, you get who and whom mixed up. I often have to stop and reword the sentence in my head to check which one I need. We’ve been told that who is the subject of a clause and whom takes an objective position. In other words, we use whom when he or she is the object of a sentence, as in for whom, to whom, with whom.
I like how Amy Einsohn explains this in her great book The Copy Editor’s Handbook, which I’m happy to plug here. These are the (correct) examples she gives:
- Joseph is the candidate whom we hope to elect. [We hope to elect him—object, not subject, of the sentence]
- Smith is the candidate who we think will win. [We think he will win—he being in the nominal, not objective, form]
- This book offers advice to whoever will accept it. [Who will accept it? He will, not him will—so you use the nominal form]
Amy’s book is really terrific at explaining everything you need to know about writing correctly, and you can get her book here: