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It suddenly came to my mind that this is quite strange:

  1. Obama, with whom I was at school, has just come to live in our street.
  2. Who are you hanging out with?

Obviously, both sentences are correct, so is "with whom".

But... why do you say "who are you hanging out with", not "whom"?

marked as duplicate by Roaring Fish, tchrist, anongoodnurse, Robusto, Chenmunka Oct 31 '14 at 9:17

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  • It is perfectly legal in Standard English to say "Whom are you hanging out with?". Although I perceive a register dissonance between the formal "whom" and the informal "hang out". The dissonance, however, is equally present in your first example. – Armen Ծիրունյան Oct 30 '14 at 22:17
  • In my first example ? – 18yoPolyglot Oct 30 '14 at 22:20
  • You mean Obama ? lol – 18yoPolyglot Oct 30 '14 at 22:20
  • This question has been asked many times before - search the site and read a previous answer! – Roaring Fish Oct 30 '14 at 23:59
  • Both sentences are not correct. To be 100% grammatically correct, your second sentence should use "whom". Yes, almost everyone says "who" for that, so it sounds correct to most people. But it is still wrong. – Sildoreth Apr 2 '15 at 14:59

You can certainly ask Whom are you hanging out with?— it's completely grammatical— though the kind of person who would say it would probably use the even more stilted With whom are you hanging out?

The difference between who and whom has been covered extensively in previous questions. Whom has been suffering a steady decline (in conversational English) for some decades, and sounds formal or affected. As such, you'd be unlikely to hear it used with the colloquial hanging out, as whom is largely absent from less formal registers these days. Additionally, it is familiar to see who at the head of a sentence as an interrogative pronoun, so it is either less noticed by or less objectionable to pedants.

  • 1
    What's 'stilted' about 'with whom'? In the stiltedness stakes I rank sentences that end with prepositions as the most stilted of all. Besides plenty of Limericks will never scan without 'with whom'. – WS2 Oct 30 '14 at 22:49
  • With whom are you hanging out? does sound stilted, but very few people would actually say it. Rather, someone inclined to use with whom would probably also be more inclined to say with whom are you spending time? – Anonym Oct 31 '14 at 1:14
  • It is an observation of mine that "whom" is actually experiencing a resurgence. I hear and see it more and more frequently. I am also seeing used correctly more and more frequently. – Sildoreth Apr 2 '15 at 15:03

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