I was going to say "Whom you vote for affects the economy" but I was not sure if it should be "affect" or "affects". I think semantically, the subject of "affect" is the whole part before it, but grammatically it seemed that "Whom" looked like the subject, and I meant multiple politicians, not just one politician (imagine, something like the mid-term election), so it could be a plural subject and take "affect".

I asked ChatGPT and it said the following. It seems like it is saying "who" is the plural form of "whom" and is more appropriate if I mean multiple politicians. Is that true?

The sentence "Whom you vote for affects the economy" is grammatically correct, but it can be improved to be more clear when referring to multiple politicians being elected.

When talking about multiple politicians, it would be better to use the plural form of "who" instead of "whom". Here's an example of how you could rephrase the sentence:

"Who you vote for affects the economy, as the collective decisions made by elected politicians have an impact on economic policies."

This way, the sentence is clear that it is referring to multiple politicians being elected, and the plural form of "who" is used to reflect that.

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    I would interpret "Whom you vote for affects the economy" as meaning that the way you vote affects the economy, not that the person or people you voted for affect the economy.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 7:39
  • 1
    See also english.stackexchange.com/questions/216292/who-are-vs-who-is english.stackexchange.com/questions/263159/… and several other questions
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 12:16
  • Either stick to the formal usage ("for whom you vote") or the informal one ("who you vote for"); I would advise against trying to combine them ("whom you vote for").
    – alphabet
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 13:55
  • @nnnnnn: I don't understand the upticks for your comment, which makes no sense at all to me, Feasibly I could apply your interpretation to How you vote [has consequences]. That's to say irrespective of who people vote for, the economy could be affected by everyone choosing to vote electronically from home, or sending their votes in by post rather than turning up at the polling station. But that doesn't seem like a credible interpretation with Who/Whom... Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 14:16
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    @alphabet: It's just a quick&dirty "rule of thumb" that we tend to avoid whom today unless it's preceded by a preposition. To a strict grammarian (not me! :) it's a matter of "dative" or "subjective" case (as derived from Latin grammar). That's to say, the "pedantic" telephonist should still ask Whom am I speaking to? just the same as To whom am I speaking? Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


I doubt any grammarians have explicitly codified this usage into a "syntactic rule". But personally I would always treat "bare" whom as singular when it's the subject in a sentence like OP's example, even if there's no doubt that logically it could (or even must) reference multiple people (or other "elected entities").

But I'd definitely switch to the plural verb form with...

Those whom you vote for affect the economy.

It took me a while to find a written instance of the plural verb form being used in the closely-related construction who dare win when that's not preceded by an explicit "determiner" such as those, they, few, many, some,... But here's one...

Fortune favours the brave and who dare win; those who lock themselves away in the loo go home empty handed.

...where I can understand why the writer chose the verb form, dare. But if it had been me I'd have settled for dares as "less awkward", even though logically it's a bit "off".

Note that the standard singular "dare" aphorism parses as the assertion He who dares is he who wins - where both dares and wins are "tensed, finite" verb forms.

But the usage I just cited above can only be parsed as the noun phrase those who dare to win (where dare is "tensed" for plural, but win is an infinitive).

  • I detest a driveway downvote, so in that spirit, Mr Fingers: "Whom" in OP's example is the object of for, not a subject. Secondly, unlike the examples in your discussion, in OP's example whom appears in an interrogative clause, not a relative one. This interrogative clause is the subject of the larger sentence, and clauses always trigger singular verb agreement in English. Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 15:31
  • I assume "in that spirit" means you're explaining why you downvoted my post. John Lawler had already said Whom is not the subject; it's the object of vote for about the same time I wrote this answer, but I didn't really understand how that affected the singular/plural issue, so I ignored it. He also said who(m) you vote for "is a clause and therefore singular", but I didn't understand that either. How come preceding whom [you vote for] by those suddenly changes it from singular to plural? Does the same apply to [He] Who hesitates is lost? It's all a mystery to me! Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 16:15
  • Ah, so when you get a clause introduced by who(m) or another wh word right after a noun, chances are that clause is a relative clause. In that kind of case, the relative clause and the noun phrase it follows combine to make a larger noun phrase. Let's take the cat who likes cream as an example. Here the word cat and the word who have the same referent (as you know, cat is the antecedent for who). We could instead have The cats who like cream, where the antecedent for who is the plural cats and the verb form is correspondingly like. (1/2) Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 23:27
  • (2/2) But in the OP's example, there is no antecedent, and the clause is not a relative clause. The clause whom you vote for does not refer to the people you vote for. It refers to the outcome of (or answer to) the question Who(m) do you vote for? and the sentence means something like The answer to the question "who do you vote for?" affects the economy. It doesn't mean The people you vote for affect the economy. The whom ... clause is an 'answer oriented interrogative clause'. Compare Which pencils you use is not important and * Which pencils you use are not important. Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 23:40
  • oic. I get it now. Ty for your patience. Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 12:15

I asked ChatGPT

A mistake… Such programs are still in their infancy

It seems like it is saying "who" is the plural form of "whom"

I don’t read it like that – who and whom are pronouns and can refer to a single person or many people.

The man who is talking is a policeman.

The men who are talking are policemen.

"Whom you vote for affects the economy" = The person for whom you vote affects the economy.

"Whom you vote for affect the economy" = The persons for whom you vote affect the economy.

  • Shouldn't that last sentence be "Whom you vote for affect the economy"?
    – Joachim
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 9:29
  • The subject of your latter examples is the interrogative clause "whom you vote for". Interrogative clause subjects take singular verb agreement in English. Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 15:29

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