Whoever or Whomever?

The Quick Answer
Whoever (just like he) is the subject of a verb.
  • Whoever finds me wins a cake.
  • (Whoever is the subject of finds.)
Whomever (just like him) is never the subject of a verb. It is an object.
  • Whomever I find loses a cake.
  • (Whomever is the direct object of I find.)
Still confused? Try the words he and him instead. If he sounds okay, use whoever. If him sounds okay, use whomever. (You may have to shuffle your word order about a bit to make this work.)

What Is the Difference Between Whoever and Whomever?

Writers are often unsure whether to use whoever or whomever. Here's the quick answer:
Whoever acts, but whomever is acted upon.
Don't be confused. They are just like he and him, which you no doubt use correctly without much thought.
He acts, but him is acted upon.

Examples of Whoever or Whomever

Here are some examples of sentences with whoever or whomever:
  • Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping. (Bo Derek)
  • (Here, Whoever said money can't buy happiness could be replaced with He said money can't buy happiness. It could not be replaced with Him said money can't buy happiness. Therefore, whomever would be wrong.)

  • Whoever controls the media and the images, controls the culture. (Allen Ginsberg)
  • (Here, Whoever controls the media could be replaced with He controls the media. It could not be replaced with Him controls the media. Therefore, whomever would be wrong.)

  • Give it to whomever you think will use it most wisely.
  • (Here, Give it to whomever could be replaced with Give it to him. It could not be replaced with Give it to he. Therefore, whoever would be wrong.)

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What is an object? What is an object of a preposition? What are prepositions? What are verbs? What are pronouns? Who or whose? Who or whom? List of easily confused words