Before I get on to this, I have an overall opinion (I know, shocking)
The English language is evolving rapidly. Whom is one of those words that is unfortunately falling into the realm of obsolescence. Mainly, this is from lack of use due to people not understanding how to use it.
Also, when you do use it, whether or not you use it correctly, you end up sounding “hoity-toity” because it is one of those words that has become synonymous with “upper class” for some reason.
So, if you don’t mind sounding hoity toity, and you can stop in the middle of a sentence to figure it out… this is what you need to do:
Decide if the “who or whom” is replacing the word “he/she or him/her”
***Let’s explore this, shall we?***
Who/whom fed the dog?
Eric (he) fed the dog. (Chloe is a happy puppy)
Therefore, Who is correct. “Who fed the dog?”
Who/whom should I ask?
Should I ask for he? (NO) Should I ask for him? (YES)
So, Whom is correct. “Whom should I ask?”
(yeah, like anyone is actually going to say that, right? Do you hear the hoity-toityness?
Here is an example from Grammar Girl:
We all know who pulled that prank.
We want to know on whom the prank was pulled.
Now, let’s be serious. Does anyone see what I’m seeing? If you tried to use the second “whom” example in your novel, unless you are writing Historical Romance, people would laugh at you. Who in their right mind is going to say “We want to know on whom the prank was pulled.”?
You guessed it: no one.
My suggestion? Use who, even if it is not correct… especially if it is in speech. Unless you have a character that is a grammarian, I see no reason to use the word “whom” in realistic speech anymore.
Sad, but true. Goodbye, whom. We will miss you. Please say hello to “whilst” for me.
- Etymology of the Day: Hoity-Toity (slog.thestranger.com)