English Vocabulary


the use of "that" and " whom"

Hye, it would be fine if someone can help me to make the difference in the use of these two words.
Thanks

7 comments

  • Hi, Linsey, nice to meet you,
    Here is my first thought  about the difference between these two words:
    whom makes reference to persons whereas that makes reference to things, or facts.
    Like in:
    The book that I'm reading is enthralling
    I told you that I was busy
    and
    The friend whom I told you I was meeting
    The person to whom he's married
    They've got four children each of whom has two
    The doctor with whom I spoke was hopeless.

    There is also "whose", which means "dont "(FR) and I don't know why it's needed because "of whom" seems very similar, but I must be missing some subtleties.
    I would add that either whom or whom are not much used for what I can read in English.
    That's my two cents, I hope it helps and that someone else can complete.
  • Hye Pimpanella, first things first, thanks for your answer and I agree with u but recently, I was confused with a grammar exercise:"there are thirsty people in the Sahara desert who need water to live".Of course I put "whom", but it was wrong, and I don't use this word when I speak english. I mostly speak english with American people and I don't think that "whom" is a word used very often. Enjoy ur Gymglish lessons
  • Hye Pimpanella, first things first, thanks for your answer and I agree with u but recently, I was confused with a grammar exercise:"there are thirsty people in the Sahara desert who need water to live".Of course I put "whom", but it was wrong, and I don't use this word when I speak english. I mostly speak english with American people and I don't think that "whom" is a word used very often. Enjoy ur Gymglish lessons
  • Hi Linsey,
    I think you're right when you say they don't use whom a lot in spoken English. But  in written English I still read it sometimes, actually in the book I'm reading I noticed  it twice yesterday after I answered to you about it.
    But in the sentence you quote, whom isn't needed, it's only needed  when a preposition comes before, like to whom, with whom etc.
    And I got an example for whose that reminded me it is different from whom anyway:
    "The person whose the car belongs is asked to remove it" (I hope it's correct)
    But I'm soory I don't  have a grammarian knowledge to explain that, only felling due to use.

    In which framework do you speak English, do you work  with American people?  Use English a lot?
    I wish you a lovely day, and nice gymglish lessons, I hope to read you sometime.
  • Hye Pimpanella I've been living in Saint Martin for 8 years it's  a caraibeen island, an amazing and unic island because there is a french side and a dutch side.To make it short on the dutch side people speak english. And with the migrations of the last years there is a important spanish population, there is also an important Haitian population. On the french side we speak french and english because the people of Saint Martin speak mosly english.So in a same day you can speak French English Spanish Dutch creole and papamiento which is a mix of dutch english and something else but I don't know cause I don't speak Papamiento. The tourism is mostly american there is also a french tourism but it is less important.Nothing is perfect like everywhere but Saint Martin is a wonderful island.Have a nice day..and nice to meet you. Bye
  • Wow, what a cooking! It's puzzling, in a small island with so few people you could think they would stick to  one language, whereas they even created a new tongue mixing the existent ones.
    So you are used  to swich from French to English and to Spanish, what a good workout!
    People over  there are known to be hedonist, enjoy life in your paradise.
  • If I am so bold as to interfere in a dialog between  a polyglot smoking king and a spruce doll, it is not for giving a different opinion from Pimpanella who is forever quick to help anyone. The reason of my interference is that I can't help poking my nose into other people business.
     
    By putting 'whom' and 'that' side by side Linsey means he takes them as relative pronouns used as direct object, the one and only possibility that 'whom' and 'that' play a similar role. I'm going to confine myself to that function here.
    Though in Linsey's quotation "there are thirsty people in the Sahara who need water to live", 'who' is not object but a relative pronoun subject of the verb 'need'.
     
    'Whom', objective case of who, refers to people, never to things.
    'That', as a pronoun, firstly refers to things but as a relative pronoun can also refer to people.
     
    Linsey says he doesn't use 'whom' when he speaks. He is right.
    ***Whom is literary or very formal in writing. It is never used in spoken language.
    There is a god whom they love. Who is that person whom the president was speaking to? 
    **'Who' is common in a bit less formal context.
    I know the girl who you love.  Who is that man who you were speaking to?
    *Currently 'that' takes place of 'whom'
    I know the girl that he loves.  Who is that man that you were speaking to?
    *Colloquially the relative pronoun is omitted.
    I know the girl he loves.  Who is that man you were speaking to?
     
    Just to give fair warning, I'm not a grammarian. Anyone reading this post should rather check it elsewhere.
     
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