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What's the rule for using "who" or "whom"?

"Don't forget [who/whom] you're dealing with."

I know the rules for who vs. whom, but I'm having trouble determining if the person you are dealing with is an object or not.

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marked as duplicate by simchona, kiamlaluno, PLL, Jasper Loy, Grant Thomas Aug 22 '11 at 9:35

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

This is essentially covered by What’s the rule for using "who" or "whom"? Specifically, moici’s answer shows why whom is the traditionally correct word here; while ShreevatsaR’s explains why who is also absolutely fine, and in some situations better. – PLL Aug 22 '11 at 1:51

Could be a good answer when some uppity idiot says:
"Do you know who you are dealing with?"

To reply - "With whom you are dealing - surely?"

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To which the obvious response is ‘Don’t call me Shirley!’ – Brian M. Scott Aug 22 '11 at 6:16

I have to say I don't quite understand the rationale behind being thistlebottomed enough to insist on using "whom" but then stranding the preposition and using the informal contraction "you're". I would say make your mind up one way another as to whether the style you're trying to achieve is naturalness or stilted etiquette, but the effect of attempting to mix the two seems a bit bizarre.

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For some of us ‘Don’t forget whom you’re dealing with’ is completely natural informal style, and who is impossible in any version of the sentence. – Brian M. Scott Aug 22 '11 at 6:19

I found some good advice on when to use who or whom in this article from the Guardian. (The article also says who/whom is important for written English, but not so much for spoken English.)

For those who object that subjects and objects are not their subject, there is an even easier way to get this right: if you can replace the "who" or "whom" with "he/she/they" then it should be "who"; if you can replace it with "him/her/them" then you want "whom". The bell tolls for him/her/them, so it's "whom"; he/she/they don't know the difference, so it's "who".

In all the examples quoted, this simple test would have resolved the problem:

• "whom police say goes by the pseudonym" should be "who" because police say he (not him) goes by the pseudonym.

• "who Mulcaire had worked for and to whom he had provided information" – "who" should be "whom" because he worked for them (not they); "whom" is correct (he provided it to them, not they).

• "whom he fears", "whom they claim" should both be "who" (he fears they, not them, may seek his extradition; they claim they, not them, are attempting to ignite chaos ).

Now, how hard is that?

To apply to your question:

"Don't forget [who/whom] you're dealing with."

You're dealing with him. So it's:

"Don't forget whom you're dealing with."

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