I need some clarity on the usage of who and whom, and which is the correct sentence between these two?
- The man WHOM I thought was thoroughly honest proved to be a swindler.
- The man WHO I thought was thoroughly honest proved to be a swindler.
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
OYou can use either who or whom; both are correct grammatically.
It's common to use "who" in place of the object pronoun "whom". The use of the whom is formal or less common in speech and writing.
Furthermore, the who/whom is a relative object pronoun in the relative defining clause "who/whom I thought was thoroughly honest". You can drop the who/whom. Besides, you can also use the structure think + someone + adjective. So you can also drop "was" in the clause. The sentence can be rephrased or reduced as follows:
The man (who/whom) I thought thoroughly honest proved to be a swindler.
In this specific sentence the use of who is correct.
As a rule of thumb:
Think whether you would use he or him if the sentence was written differently. In this case you would say "The man proved to be a swindler. I thought HE was thoroughly honest."
If you wanted to say "I thought of HIM as thoroughly honest.", whom would be the way to go