Who and Whom difference? - correction to question

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

28 January 2018

4 replies

Who and Whom difference? - correction to question

Sorry the question should have readIn my part the UK we never use 'whom' only 'who' so I'm lost as to when to use 'Qui est-ce que' and when to use 'Qui est-ce qui'. Could you please help.

This relates to:
Questions: Qui / qui est-ce que = Whom ? -

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

29 January 2018

29/01/18

Hi Stewart - yes, increasingly 'whom' is disappearing from use in English, however it's well worth understanding the difference as it will help with you comprehension of French enormously. It's not difficult to grasp because it's the same distinction as 'he' versus 'him' so if you substitute one of those words into a sentence you can usually see which it ought to be.

Sometimes you have to change the order a bit to do this: For example:
"[Who/whom] should I give the apples to?" -> Should I give the apples to HIM (obviously not "he") therefore Should I give the apples to him, and therefore "To whom should I give the apples?"

Once you grasp that "whom" is plays the same role in a sentence as "him" and "who" the same role as "he" it becomes pretty easy to see which one is/ought to be used. [the grammar terms for these are relative subject and relative object pronouns if you want to read further].

In French, this distinction is very important, not disappearing at all, so by tapping into an older style / formal English you get a lot of value back.

Hopefully that makes sense?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2018

29/01/18

It is a common trait of Romance languages that they are weak on nominal cases but strong on tenses. English, as well, has lost most traces of noun declension. One of the remaining traces is the difference between "who" and "whom". In short, the difference is that "who" is used for the subject and "whom" for the object. One simple test is to replace the person in question with "I" or "me". If "I" is the correct form, then you should use "who". If it is "me", then "whom" is correct. Here are some examples:

Anne met me at the beach. -- Anne met whom at the beach? (me --> whom)
I met Marc at the movies. -- Who met Marc at the movies? (I--> who)

In "Qui est-ce qui..." the second "qui" is the subject of the following clause, hence you would translate it as "who". On the other hand, in "Qui est-ce que..." the "que" is the object of what follows, so you need "whom" in English. Again, let's demonstrate how this works using an example or two:

Who is playing the piano? -- Qui est-ce qui joue du piano? (qui is the subject)
Whom are you waiting for? -- Qui est-ce que tu attends? (que is the object)

I hope that helps a bit.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2018

29/01/18

Ah, Gruff's excellent post appeared just as I was writing mine. Sorry.

-- Chris.

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2018

29/01/18

Hi Gruff ... thank you for a great explanation.

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