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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.)
Beware

Whomever is Not Posher Than Whoever

Don't use whomever because you think it makes you sound more educated. (You can only use whomever when it's an object, i.e., not the subject of a verb.)
Note

Whoever is the Subject of a Verb. Whomever is an Object

Whoever is to he as whomever is to him.

Whoever and he are always the subjects of verbs, but whomever and him are always the objects of verbs or the objects of prepositions.
Interactive Test
 



 
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