1. Against whom are you playing?
  2. Whom against are you playing?
  3. (Some better way to say this)

Can anyone explain which sentence is the exactly correct one, or provide one that is? Does the order of the words whom and against really matter in this sentence?

  • Why is the word against involved here at all? Seems redundant, maybe even pleonastic, in most situations.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


Grammatically correct are: "Against whom are you playing?" (in the very formal English), "Whom are you playing against?.

These questions derive from statements: "He is the man against whom I am playing", "He is the man whom (or who) I am playing against". "Whom" is a complement of a preposition "against". A preposition can precede its complement or be moved to the end-position.

  • Most people would simply say, "Who[m] are you playing [against]?" Pied piping is a learnèd affectation that sounds stilted and artificial.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 23:51
  • @Tchrist "Whom are you playing?" - Can it be possible that a non-native speaker (or a native speaker) would take this in as: "Whom are you playing (with)?" and would answer "I'm playing with my brother (against his fellows)". Thank you.
    – Eugene
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 11:32

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