When to Use ‘Whomever’: Navigating the Maze

Whomever is a pronoun that means “whatever person” or “no matter who.” 

Whoever means exactly the same. 

The English language is highly versatile and complex. Two words can have the same meaning but they cannot be used interchangeably. 

Many English tutors will disagree with this statement but whoever and whomever are clear examples of this. 

Whoever is used only as the subject, which is in the position of they in a sentence, while whomever is used in the object position is in the position of them.  

For example; They are here. I saw them arrive. 

This article will give an in-depth explanation of how to use whomever.

When to use whomever

These are how to use whomever in your sentences as writers;

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As the Object Pronoun

As we earlier mentioned, Whomever is used in the object position while it is a pronoun. 

Therefore, it is an object pronoun and works like the pronouns him, her, and them.


Give the report to whomever is in the office. 

Invite whomever you please.

When the object person is receiving the action

Use whomever when the “them person” is receiving the action of the verb:

You should invite whomever you please.

We’ll offer the grant to whomever arrives first.

Use in the object position 

Whomever is best used in positions where we usually write them or him or her.

Correct: She inspires whomever she meets with her story. 

Incorrect: She inspires whoever she meets with her story. 

Incorrect: They’ll hire whoever I recommend. 

Correct: They’ll hire whomever I recommend. 

Incorrect: You should give the scholarship to whoever you think is the best.

Correct: You should give the scholarship to whomever you think is the best. 

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Use just like whom

Just like whomwhomever is an objective pronoun used as the object of sentences, clauses, and phrases.

We know whom is not very popular among writers.  

You can use it in any place where you can also use “me,” “him,” “her,” “them,” or “whom.” 

They refer to the object, which is the person who is receiving the action. 

For example;

Give it to her.

Give it to whomever.

Substituting other pronouns for whoever and whomever

If you want to know the pronoun in a sentence, follow these simple rules. You can use more familiar subject and object pronouns to sort out which is correct to use. 

The rule is who/whoever = he, she, and whom/whomever = him, her

Secondly, the sentence that sounds right is probably correct. 

Correct: Give the book to her.

Incorrect: Give the book to she.

You’re right. 

Give the book to her sounds best. 

Therefore, if you apply the rule, you can substitute whomever in place of her. They are both object pronouns. 

Of course, you know that not all sentences are as easy as this, however, breaking a sentence down to get the object and subject will make it easy to use this rule.  

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If after reading this article you are not confident about using whomever, you can always act the part by rephrasing the sentence. 

There is no shame in replacing the confusing pronouns with another word.