Which one is correct?

Who are you staying with


Whom are you staying with?

  • 2
    I'm sure @John Lawler has pronounced the death sentence on any use of 'whom' not immediately following a preposition. Or was it 'user'? And doubtless G Pullum wouldn't offer offenders sanctuary; he has a famous closed door policy. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 13 '15 at 16:37
  • If you want to get fancy about it, you would say, "With whom are you staying?" and maintain the (antiquated) convention of not not ending your sentences with prepositions. – CactusHouse Feb 13 '15 at 17:48
  • 1
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the question of where to put the preposition is orthogonal to which word is appropriate. – John Bachir Feb 13 '15 at 22:05
  • @JohnBachir, you asked, so I'll correct you. The connection between preposition location and who/whom is style. In a high style, it's "With whom are you staying?" Colloquially, it's "Who are you staying with?" Confused, it's "Whom are you staying with?" – Greg Lee Feb 14 '15 at 3:19
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    @JohnBachir It’s neither. The subject is you and there is no (verbal) object. Who(m) is the object of the preposition. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 14 '15 at 13:11

There are not many words in English that clearly tell us nominative or objective case. The pairs he/him and she/her are in the nominative / objective case, and may be used to tell us the answer to your question.

First, one could switch the question around and make it a statement.

You are staying with who/whom.

Then swap in he/him for the who/whom.

You are staying with ?he / him.

(EDIT: The ? notation used on this forum and https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/ indicates questionable usage. A stronger form would be to use *he to indicate that the usage of he is incorrect.)

I suspect it sounds better to most ears to say "You are staying with him," because we use "him" (objective case) with a preposition.

Then swap back the who / whom.

You are staying with ?who / whom.

And then finally back to your original question.

With whom are you staying? or Whom are you staying with?

Grammatically, you need a whom in your question.

But as you can see in the linked question What’s the rule for using “who” and “whom” correctly?, whom may have a stilted or formal feel.

So I'd soften the answer a bit, and say that if you were answering on an English test, use the grammatically correct whom. But if you were asking someone in an everyday situation, use the less formal who.

  • 1
    Yes. Whom is mostly used these days to show off one's control of English grammar. It is also used incorrectly more often than not, so in general -- except on standardized tests, which don't count -- don't use whom. It's never necessary. – John Lawler Feb 13 '15 at 17:13
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    And literature tests, @JohnLawler? Ask not for whom the bell tolls. – rajah9 Feb 13 '15 at 17:41
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    Hmph, @JohnLawler. Hearing someone say "who" when I know it should be "whom", feels like nails on a chalkboard to me. Must be my age. ;-) – Kristina Lopez Feb 13 '15 at 19:59
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    @KristinaLopez I’m much more bothered by people using whom when it should be who, for that has no excuse. – tchrist Feb 14 '15 at 16:43
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    Agreed, @KristinaLopez. I know young adults who can utter, without shame, a sentence like "Him and me are going to the store." Call me old fashioned. – rajah9 Feb 14 '15 at 16:54

if the answer is 'him', the question is 'whom'

  • 4
    Hello Chu. While some school textbooks and even teachers may have led you to believe this to be true, it's not. John Lawler outranks them. And G Pullum possibly outranks him. I suspect even the most ardent prescriptivist would use 'Who is it? Oh, it's him.' And few would use 'Whom did you see?' – Edwin Ashworth Feb 14 '15 at 2:05
  • So, is 'whom' to be consigned to the same dustbin as 'shall'? – Chu Feb 14 '15 at 19:13
  • No. We need more options not less. – user98990 Feb 14 '15 at 19:38
  • It's probably too full of 'adverbs'. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 15 '15 at 0:36

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