To Whom it May Concern,

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to refer to a person by way of an indefinite pronoun as the object of a verb or prepositional phrase, the correct pronoun to use is “whom.” For all other cases, use “who.”


The English Language

Example 1: “At my summons, instead of the man of violence whom we expected, a very old and wrinkled woman hobbled into the apartment.” – A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Example 2: “The poor fellow whom Queequeg had handled so roughly, was swept overboard; all hands were in a panic; and to attempt snatching at the boom to stay it, seemed madness.” – Moby Dick by Herman Melville

If you aren’t sure which one to use, check for a preposition before the word: e.g. upon whom, at whom, with whom, above whom, etc.. If there is no preposition then ask yourself if the pronoun is referring to the subject of the sentence. If it is, then use “who.” If not, use “whom.” If the sentence is a question, then you will most likely use “who.”

Example: “He is an abscess on the universe, who withdraws and separates himself from the reason of our common nature through being displeased with the things which happen, for the same nature produces this, and has produced thee too…” – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

As you can see from this example, the pronoun is referring to the subject, “he,” and so we use “who” instead of “whom.”