Is 'Whom' Dead?

WhomA front-page Wall Street Journal article explores the demise of "whom," which we have known for some time-some of us feeling joy, remorse, or indifference. Titled, "The Bell Tolls for 'Whom,' " the WSJ article tells us about Twitter's decision to post "Who to follow" instead of the grammatically correct "Whom to follow." Company representatives say a few people made the case for "whom," but it seems as though they quickly lost the argument. 

The article gives us some fun examples of when "whom" just sounds silly: Ghostbusters' "Whom you gonna call" and the music group "The Whom" (well, that could go either way).

Men who used "whom" on their OK Cupid profiles had a 31% better chance of getting dates. (Let's assume they used it correctly.) We already know grammar is sexy. Women, particularly, are more turned off by bad grammar.

The article says that "whom" is still used when it's the object of a preposition, but the example is questionable: "To whom it may concern." That greeting went of out favor with "Dear Sir or Madam." It's best to find a real person or use "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear Recruiter" for cover letters.

My preference is to rewrite a sentence to avoid the whole issue, but I admit, in conversational writing, I might write, "Who are you going with?" committing two sins.

Image source.


  • What's the second "sin" in my last sentence, above?
  • Describe the "correct" uses of whom.
  • When, at all, do you use the word?
  • What's your view: should we always use it correctly, kill it, or something in between?