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Which is correct:

1) Who do you want to come with?
2) With who do you want to come?
3) Whom do you want to come with? 
4) With whom do you want to come?

I heard using "whom" is formal and "who" is informal.

It was written if we use "who" the preposition can be only at the end of the sentence:

"who...with"

But if we use "whom" the preposition can be in the both places:

With whom...
Whom with...

But at the same time I read some information that having the preposition after the questioning word is informal like:

With whom... - formal
Whom with - should be informal

But it's a confusion.

The sentence "Whom ... with" is formal because of 'whom" but not "who" and informal because of "with" after the "whom".

Please, could you explain all of it to me?

1

Who is the "subjective" form (also called the nominative). Whom was originally the "objective" form (also called the accusative, but including what in other languages is called the dative as well). However, whom is increasingly replaced by who, especially in less-formal contexts.

The thing to understand is that while both the use of "whom" in the objective case and the avoidance of sentence-final prepositions are often seen in formal use, English isn't divided into two simple formal and informal registers.

Both "who[m]... with" and "with who" (which is unusual, but certainly permissible) could be considered as lowering the degree of formality , yet neither is as informal as it's possible to be. Both might be considered more formal than informal in some contexts.

  • What about "with whom"? – Michael Azarenko Feb 15 at 11:52
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    @MichaelAzarenko "With whom" is the most formal option of those listed, but might well still be used in informal contexts by some people because what it really is is the most strictly correct option under historical normative English grammar. As a result, people of a certain age and/or certain educational background will use it instinctively as the only correct choice – Darael Feb 15 at 12:01
  • But can you make any thin gradation for me kind of like "With... who" is okay, "who...with" is okay but better than "with...who", "whom... with" is the worst of all, "with whom" is the best one. I would like to see them separately from each other but comparing with each other. – Michael Azarenko Feb 15 at 12:14
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    There is no strict hierarchy. While "who...with" is the least formal, and "with whom..." the most, the other two represent different types of informality rather than different levels and as such cannot be simply ranked. Besides, "more formal" is not always the same as "better"; there are definitely contexts in which informal language is preferable. – Darael Feb 15 at 12:20
  • Okay, it suits to me. What about other prepositions: 1) What did you talk about? 2) About what did you talk? 3) Under what mountain is the chest buried? 4) What mountain is the chest buried under? 5) What did you say it for? 6) For what did you say it? And all other prepositions with the same sense - what is the difference between putting the prepositions at the end of the sentence or at the begining of it? – Michael Azarenko Feb 15 at 17:12

protected by Community Jun 3 at 10:54

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