So this question came up on one of the exercise in a workbook and I am having trouble finding a clear answer.

Some suggests that "whom" is the correct word to use here: "you" is the subject, "think" is the verb and "whom" is the object. However, in this context this combination doesn't makes sense to me. I thought that maybe "who" can be a subject, "you think" is adjective, "do" is verb and the "job" is the object. So am I overcomplicating this?

I appreciate any thoughts!

marked as duplicate by Jason Bassford, sumelic, Chenmunka, choster, jimm101 Feb 12 at 22:00

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  • "You think" is not an adjective. "who/whom you think will do the best job" is a relative clause with the subject "you" and the verb "think"; this relative clause contains an embedded clause with the subject "who(m)", the verb "will do..." and the object "the best job". The "traditional" recommendation is to use "who" here. – sumelic Feb 8 at 21:10
  • 1
    I agree with @sumelic that the traditional recommendation (which I consider the correct answer) is to use "who" here. The anti-traditional recommendation seems to be to use "who" everywhere. So either way, use "who". – Andreas Blass Feb 9 at 2:55

This is a terrible question to put in a workbook because usage of the word "whom" is on the decline and in all but the most formal settings you can use "who" wherever you should (according to the traditional rules) use "whom". In fact, using "whom" correctly can sound pretentious.

However, in this case, it does not matter because "who" is the correct word by any standard. You can simplify the sentence by crossing out "you think"

So is he the person who/whom you think will do the best job?

and then again by crossing out "So is he the person", leaving you with

Who/whom will do the best job?

You should be confident that the correct choice in this last sentence is "who", and adding back the parts we struck out will not change that.


If you rephrase the question as an affirmative answer, it would be

I think he would do the best job.

The subject pronoun "he" means that the correct word in the question is the subject pronoun "who".

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