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Whoever and Whomever

Which to Use: Whoever and Whomever?

'Whoever and whomever' are used in much the same way as 'who and whom', in other words, ‘whoever' is the subject form and 'whomever' is the object form. Hence:

Whoever was responsible for the crime must repay whomever suffered.

(Often the object form 'whomever' is replaced with 'whomsoever'.)

The same check can be used for 'whoever and whomever' as for 'who and whom', you don't even need to use a different form of the personal pronouns. In other words, if you would have used he, she or they then use 'whoever' in your sentence; if you would have used him or her then you should use whomever in your sentence.

In all cases, it is not wise to go by what merely 'sounds' right, as your personal ear for correct grammatical sentence structure is unlikely to be infallible. However, if even after doing the suggested checks you are still unsure, as with 'who and whom' consider recasting your sentence rather than submitting an academic essay that is grammatically incorrect.

Remember, that to use 'whoever and whomever' correctly, you need a thorough knowledge of how to locate and identify the subject and object in a sentence so that you can correctly apply 'whoever' as the subject and 'whomever' as the object. You also need to bear in mind how this can alter following a preposition.

The use of 'whoever and whomever', as with the use of 'who and whom' is decreasing significantly, especially in US English but in the UK it is still commonly applied, even though it is frequently misapplied. In an academic essay, any grammatical terms used should be done so correctly. Therefore, adhere to the rules of subject and object in relation to the usage of 'whoever and whomever' and carry out the suggested checks in order to use these terms correctly.

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