That vs Who or Whom

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What’s the difference between them?

That

Meaning:

That is a pronoun used to refer to people, animals, places, things, ideas, or events.

Examples:

1. That is the best decision you could have made.

2. I'm not sure if that was the right thing to do.

3. I can't believe that just happened!

Who or Whom

Meaning:

Who or whom is a pronoun used to refer to the subject or object of a sentence or question.

Examples:

1. Who or whom do you think will win the race?

2. Please tell me who or whom I should contact about this issue.

3. Who or whom will you be taking to the prom?

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

That

1. Such

2. That one

3. The aforesaid

4. This

5. Yonder

1. This

2. Here

3. Away

4. Neither

5. Nowhere

Who or Whom

1. He or She

2. Him or Her

3. Whoever

4. Whichever

5. One or the Other

1. Nobody

2. Everybody

3. Neither

4. No one

5. Neither of them

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "That", "Who or Whom".

1. That is used to refer to a person, place, thing, or idea.

2. Who/whom is used to refer to a subject or object of a sentence or question.

3. Use 'that' to introduce a noun in a sentence, and 'who/whom' to refer to a person in a sentence.

4. 'That' is usually used when referring to an inanimate object.

5. 'Who/Whom' is usually used when referring to a person.

6. Remember the phrase 'who/whom do that?' to distinguish between that and who/whom.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

In what situations should 'that' be used?

That is typically used to refer to something that was previously mentioned, or to introduce a clause that is essential to the main clause of the sentence. For example, 'The movie was good, that was surprising.'

When is the appropriate context for using 'who or whom'?

Who or whom is used to refer to the subject or object of a sentence. Who is used when referring to the subject of a sentence, while whom is used when referring to the object of a sentence. For example, 'Who is coming to the party?' or 'Whom did you invite?'

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, that and who/whom do not have the same pronunciation. That is pronounced with a 'th' sound, while who/whom is pronounced with a 'w' sound.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One common mistake is using 'that' or 'who' in the formal contexts where 'whom' is more appropriate.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. The woman _____ you saw at the theater is my aunt.

2. The dog _____ barked loudly was scaring the children.

3. To _____ did you give the letter?

4. The person _____ I admire most is my grandmother.

5. The city _____ I visited last summer was breathtaking.

6. The artist _____ painted this masterpiece is renowned worldwide.

1. The woman whom you saw at the theater is my aunt.

Explanation: Whom is the correct choice here because it is the object of the verb saw. You saw whom? The woman.

2. The dog that barked loudly was scaring the children.

Explanation: That is used here as a relative pronoun to refer to the noun (the dog) which performed the action (barked).

3. To whom did you give the letter?

Explanation: Whom is used as the object of the preposition to. To whom? To the person you gave the letter.

4. The person who I admire most is my grandmother.

Explanation: Who is the subject of the verb admire in the relative clause. The person does the action of being admired.

5. The city that I visited last summer was breathtaking.

Explanation: That is a relative pronoun here introducing a restrictive clause. It specifies which city you are talking about - the one you visited last summer.

6. The artist who painted this masterpiece is renowned worldwide.

Explanation: Who is the subject of the verb painted in the relative clause. The artist does the action of painting.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.