Which word should I be using in the following sentence: "I wanted you to listen to this interview by an author who(m?) many of you already read". Who or whom?

I saw this answer What’s the rule for using “who” and “whom” correctly?, but who/whom in this case cannot be replaced by neither "he" nor "him", so I'm still unsure.

Please advise.

  • 1
    who or whom? How do you know? Mar 20, 2020 at 13:31
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    At the question you mention, 'One need never use whom, and if one is even a little bit dubious about a situation, one should certainly not use whom there. That's the rule. The simple rule. If you insist on zombie rules, be aware you're late to the game, and there are lots more zombie rules out there already. Whom has kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible. This is an ex-pronoun. Let it lie in peace. (John Lawler)' is clear. Mar 20, 2020 at 14:13
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    I would say 'whom', but I'd be glad it was followed by 'many' as I'd be able to make the consecutive m's sound almost like a single one and leave my listeners unsure which word I had gone for. Mar 20, 2020 at 14:18
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    @Rattler It would be a great coincidence if it were not. // This has certainly been covered here before, but I'm having difficulty tracking down the precise duplicate. Here, 'whom' would have been the only answer allowed in grammar schools in the UK 50 years ago, but 'who' has replaced it in almost all usages (but not directly after a preposition: 'For Whom the Bell Tolls') nowadays. 'Whom' is acceptable, but on the rarefied side of formal. Most people would choose 'who', and people arguing against this are over-prescriptive. 'Whose work' avoids the issue entirely. Mar 20, 2020 at 14:26
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    Ah; this question is clearly the same: I think "The man who I thought was thoroughly honest proved to be a swindler" is acceptable. But my book says the answer should be "whom". (though some think that this was itself a duplicate). Mar 20, 2020 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


In formal, written English, whom is correct here:

I wanted you to listen to this interview by an author whom many of you already read.

In the answer you referred to (The easy way to tell which is technically correct is to substitute he and him for who and whom, then rearrange the word order to see which sounds right.), it looks like you skipped the part about rearranging. Substitute first, then rearrange:

who many of you already read --> he many of you already read --> many of you already read he

whom many of you already read --> him many of you already read --> many of you already read him

What's tricky in these constructions is that whom is an object but it comes before the subject.

Some have declared whom to be dead, but it isn't—not yet:

However, if you are writing at work, at college or university, or for publication, it is acceptable and even advisable to use the more formal whom, especially in constructions with a preposition.
Source: Lexico: "Who" Or "Whom"?

In spoken or informal English (as your example utterance is), the rule can be relaxed, and indeed, is better dismissed altogether if you want to sound normal.

  • This is the most comprehensive answer, acknowledging the various voices heard in the discussion. Mar 20, 2020 at 21:04
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    I still would use ‘whom’ unless I wanted to sound like a numpty. 😊 It’s like - we hide our use of proper English - so we can sound like ‘everyone else’ - ie those who do not know to use it properly. Then the whole thing gets downgraded and we all end up sounding like obs. lol and imho! And, with less examples of ‘proper English’ being used - less and less people hear it as an example - and so it gets even worse!
    – Jelila
    Mar 20, 2020 at 22:20
  • If the expected answers are, say, ME, US, YOU (Obj.), HIM, HER (obj.), THEM, their questions will be WHOM. If the above are, say, I, WE, YOU, HE, SHE, THEY, their questions will be WHO.
    – Ram Pillai
    Mar 21, 2020 at 5:09

I wanted you to listen to this interview by an author whom many of you already read.

Have you read this author?

Have you really read him?

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    I'm picking yours as the correct answer, even though many have made convincing cases for "who". However, none of them wrote an "official" answer. Mar 20, 2020 at 20:01
  • @MichaelSeltenreich: There have been many convincing cases in favor of the phlogiston theory, too.
    – Ricky
    Mar 20, 2020 at 20:22

I would just change the construction slightly: “I wanted to listen ... with whom many of you may already be acquainted.”

  • 2
    This would be improved by saying why this construction is better. Mar 21, 2020 at 7:14

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