Whoever and whomever are both pronouns. Choosing which one to use in a sentence, however, has been a challenge for many English speakers and writers. You could’ve sworn these two are always interchangeable.
If you’re one of those people who are still confuse about which one to use, just remember this simple rule:
- he/she = whoever
- him/her = whomever
Whoever vs. Whomever Explained
Keep in mind that whoever is a subject pronoun. Its role is to be the subject of a verb. Here are some examples:
- Give the flyers to whoever asks for them. (Whoever is the subject of the verb asks)
- Whoever is ready can go first. (Whoever is the subject of the verb is. We can verify it by saying “He is ready”)
- My boss will hire whoever is nice to him.
- The coach will kick out whoever skips basic training.
You can also use whoever as a subject complement.
- Whoever you are, I like you already.
- Whoever it was did not leave any fingerprint.
- Whoever he was appeared lonely.
Whomever is an object pronoun. It follows a verb or proposition. Examples:
- You can marry whomever you love. (Whomever is the object of the verb love . “You love him, so you can marry him.”)
- Whomever Jack chooses is OK to me. (Whomever is the object of the verb chooses. “Jack chooses her and it’s OK to me.”)
- I will be happy to welcome whomever you hire today. (Whomever is the object of the verb hire. “You hire him/her”)
Just get rid of them
Still can’t tell which one to use? Just remove whoever/whomever altogether. Rewrite your sentences so you won’t need either.
Give this memo to whoever/whomever at the legal department downstairs.
Give this memo to somebody at the legal department downstairs.
Whoever/whomever eat my donuts, you’re in big trouble.
The one who eats my donuts is in big trouble.
See? Problem’s solved.
Anyway, if grammar is not your strong point and you have more than just whoever/whomever to think about, just get some help. We’re talking about using the online grammar and spelling checker. It’s free and easy to use so you really don’t have any excuse for not using it.