Difference between: Who, Whom, Whose, What, Which

Difference between: Who, Whom, Whose, What, Which. Interrogative pronouns

Interrogative pronouns in practice in English

Interrogative pronouns are pronouns used to form questions in English. They help obtain information about people, things, possession, characteristics, or choices among objects. The main interrogative pronouns in English include:

  1. Who: Used for questions related to individuals or groups of people.
  2. Whom: Used in object questions, indicating the person who becomes the object of the action.
  3. Whose: Used for questions about possession or ownership.
  4. What: Used for general questions about objects, ideas, or characteristics.
  5. Which: Used for questions involving a choice between objects or things.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these pronouns in the English language, the main differences and examples of their use.

Who

  • Used in questions about individuals or groups of people.Examples:
    • Who is at the door?
    • Who is your best friend?
  • Functions as a subject in a sentence.Example:
    • Who called you yesterday?
  • Utilized in auxiliary questions to obtain additional information.Example:
    • I met someone last night. Who did you meet?
  • Used in indirect questions.Example:
    • Can you tell me who is coming to the party?

The overarching idea is that “Who” is employed for questions related to specific individuals or groups of people, and in certain cases, when it functions as the subject.

Whom

  • Used as an object in a question.Examples:
    • Whom did you meet at the party?
    • With whom are you going to the cinema?
  • Used as a subject in written language (formal style): While considered somewhat outdated in spoken English, in written language, especially in business or formal letters, “whom” can be used as a subject when it follows a preposition.Example:
    • By whom was this letter written?
  • Used in indirect questions. Employed in an indirect question when it serves as the object of a verb or preposition.Example:
    • Can you tell me whom you invited?

It’s worth noting that in contemporary spoken English, the use of “whom” is diminishing, and people often opt for “who” in various contexts.

Whose

  • Used in questions about possession. “Whose” is used to inquire about ownership or possession.Examples:
    • Whose book is this?
    • Whose car is parked outside?
  • Can be used as a subject in a sentence. “Whose” can function as a subject.Example:
    • Whose idea was it to start the project?

“Whose” is employed to indicate owners or possession in various situations, and it can be used both in interrogative sentences and in sentences that indicate ownership.

Which

  • Used in questions about objects or things. “Which” is used for questions that involve choosing between objects or things.Examples:
    • Which color do you prefer?
    • Which book are you reading?
  • Used in branching questions. “Which” can be used in branching questions when a choice is presented among multiple options.Example:
    • You can choose between tea and coffee, which would you like?

“Which” is employed for questions regarding the choice between objects or things.

What

  • Used in general questions. “What” is used to form general questions and can serve as the subject, object, or descriptor.Examples:
    • What is your favorite movie?
    • What do you do for a living?
  • Used in questions about specific objects or ideas. “What” can be used for questions about specific objects, ideas, phenomena, etc.Example:
    • What is that noise?
    • What is the capital of France?
  • Used in questions about characteristics or descriptions. “What” is used for questions related to characteristics or descriptions.Example:
    • What does he look like?
    • What is the weather like today?

“What” is utilized to create various types of questions that pertain to objects, ideas, and so on.

Differences between Who, Whom, Whose, What, Which

Who 

  • Used for questions related to individuals or groups of people.
  • Functions as the subject, object, or descriptor in sentences.Example:
    • Who called you last night? 

Whom

  • Used for questions when it serves as the object of an action.Example:
    • Whom did you see at the store?

Whose

  • Used for questions about ownership or possession.Example:
    • Whose laptop is this on the table?

What

  • Used for general questions about objects or things.
  • Used in questions about ideas, circumstances, or descriptions.Example:
    • What is your favorite color?
    • What is the purpose of this tool?

Which

  • Used for questions involving a choice between objects or things.Example:
    • Which movie do you want to watch?

These interrogative pronouns serve distinct purposes, helping to form questions that inquire about people, ownership, objects, ideas, and choices.

Practice on using Who, Whom, Whose, What, Which – Test

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Interrogative pronouns in English in practice - Test

____ is the name of the team in red?

____ completed the assignment?

____ of the names did you choose for the puppy?

____ the highest ranking official in the United States?

____ of the cars is parked in the driveway?

For ____ did Shelia make these cookies.

To ____ should the check be made payable?

____ book are you reading?

____ is the president of the company?

____ likes to play pinball at the arcade?

____ did you meet at the concert last night?

To ____ did Mark lend his video game?

____ is the girl in the blue dress?

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Video – WHO | WHOM | WHOSE | WHO’S – Important English Grammar Lesson!

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