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Whomever Or Whoever: Which One Should You Use?

by subhasree nag

Were you under the impression that whomever is just another fancy word for whoever? Well, that is not actually the case, and they cannot be used like synonyms wherever it seems fit. Similar to the words whom and who, whomever, and whoever have specific uses in a sentence.

Before we get deep into the subject of “whomever or whoever” or “whoever vs whomever,” we should start with the basics, and that means the meanings of both words. You are not alone in this. There are many other people who face this confusion about “is it whoever or whomever,” while they are in the middle of constructing a sentence. So let’s begin.

Whomever versus whoever: The meaning  

The word whoever is used when we try to mean “whatever person” or “no matter who.” According to most English Teachers, this word should be used only in the subject proposition. For example, If you want to say, “They arrived first,” it should be said, “Whoever arrived first.”

Whomever versus whoever: The meaning  

The word whomever is mainly used as an object pronoun, like in place of her, them, and him. It can also be used as a relative pronoun which introduces a noun clause, but it is not commonly used as whoever. For example, if you want o write, “You should invite them if you please,” then you should write, “You should invite whomever you please.”

I hope this gives you a clear idea about whomever or whoever.

How does who and whoever function?  

Well, everything starts from here, and it is better if you understand the function of ‘who’ before we get to anything else.  The words ‘who’ and ‘whoever’ are subject pronouns. When they are put in sentences, their work is quite similar to I, she, we, he, and they. A subject pronoun is a thing or a person who is performing the action of the verb in that sentence.

How does who and whoever function_

Let’s see some examples  

He got the brownies to the party; he should be commended!

Whoever brought the brownies to the party should be commended.

He opened the windows and saved us from the suffocating environment.

Whoever opened the windows saved us from the suffocating environment.

I left the baby in the room alone, and that was my biggest mistake.

Whoever left the baby alone in the room made a big mistake.

He planned on going to the water park, but it had to be canceled because of the accident.

Whoever planned on going to the water park had to cancel it because of the accident.

He made a mistake by taking the matter to their boss.

Whoever took the matter to their boss made a mistake.

How does whom and whomever function?  

In contrast to who and whoever, whom and whomever are object pronouns. They function similarly to us, me, her, them, and him. An object pronoun serves as the object of the verb, which refers to something or someone that receives the action or object of a preposition.

How does whom and whomever function_

Let’s see some examples  

I decided to give her a present as I was assigned as her secret Santa.

I decided to give a present to whomever I was assigned as their secret Santa.

If you are asked, recommend him if you want.

If you are asked, recommend whomever you want.

Give the keys to her; she is going to shift into this apartment today.

Give the keys to whomever is shifting to this apartment today.

Mr. Potter hired him; it is your job to give him the tour today.

It is your job to give a tour to whomever Mr.Potter has hired.

He decided to give him the award, as he thought him to e the perfect fit.

He can decide whomever he wants to give an award he thinks is a perfect fit.

Let’s try a few more examples of whoever  

  • Whoever wants the cake can have it.
  • Whoever finishes the race first is going to get the prize along with some added advantage.
  • Whoever gets to the place first should reserve a table for 5.
  • Whoever wants to get to the town should meet me downstairs in five minutes.
  • Whoever wins the collection will have to take up a lot of responsibilities.

Let’s try a few more examples of whomever  

  • Thank whomever you want, but don’t forget the rest.
  • Hand over the files to whomever comes for them from the management office.
  • I will examine whomever comes next into my chamber.
  • The party nominated whomever they thought fit for the position.
  • He interviewed whomever was sent to his office.

Remembering whomever or whoever  

Here I am going to share a trick that will help you remember where to use whomever and where to use whoever. Use the term ‘whoever’ when the person in the sentence is performing the action. For example, “whoever cooked this meal deserves an award.” and use the term ‘whomever’ when the person in the sentence is receiving the acting. For example, “We will offer cake and wine to whomever we see.”

But when nothing works, just try a test, and you will get the answer. Try putting the word they and them in the sentence to see what fits best. One would always fit into the sentence better than the other one. In the sentence where ‘they’ fit best, use the term whoever, and where ‘them’ fits best, use whomever.

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