Please have a look on the following examples:

1-1- Who does he look like?
1-2- Who does he resemble?
1-3- Whom does he look like?
1-4- Whom does he resemble?

As far as I know, for “he”’ or “’she,” we use "who" and for “him” or “her,” use "whom".

Consequently, we say:

  • He looks like me (not "I"). [Therefore, we must be able to use "whom" not "who"!]
  • He resembles me (not "I").[Therefore, we must be able to use "whom" not "who"!]

But Ngram shows somwthing else! Please have a look on the folloing link: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=whom+does+he+look+like%2Cwhom+does+he+resemble%2Cwho+does+he+look+like%2Cwho+does+he+resemble&case_insensitive=on&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t4%3B%2Cwhom%20does%20he%20resemble%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3BWhom%20does%20he%20resemble%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bwhom%20does%20he%20resemble%3B%2Cc0%3B.t4%3B%2Cwho%20does%20he%20look%20like%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3BWho%20does%20he%20look%20like%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bwho%20does%20he%20look%20like%3B%2Cc0

The same goes for the following examples of mine:

2-1- Who is her demeanor like the most?
2-2- Who is her demeanor similar to the most?
2-3- Whom is her demeanor like the most?
2-4- Whom is her demeanor similar to the most?

I have no any idea which one is correct and which one is incorrect?

I would appresiate it if you could help me to figure it out!

  • And none of the answers here help? ell.stackexchange.com/a/1162
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 16:55
  • 2
    None of your 2.X solutions are idiomatic. See solutions 2-5 and 2-6 in the answer below for who you should be saying it. Where you've gone wrong is forgetting that just as personal pronouns still have a genitive case inflection, so too does who/whom/whose.
    – tchrist
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 17:17
  • 1
    I find it easier to remember he / him (same final consonant as who / whom), but mostly we don't bother with whom at all these days, so it's not important. All your NGram link shows is that to resemble has been supplanted by to look like, so of course the much-declined older version reflects a distinction that's largely ignored today. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


You are correct about examples 1-1 through 1-4 - whom is the "correct" word, though in modern usage, who is usually used when whom would be appropriate. "Whom does he look like?" would probably sound affected or overly formal to a modern audience. As ColleenV points out, this question has been asked before, and Mechanical snail has a very good answer here: How can one differentiate between "who" and "whom"?

I also want to address examples 2-1 through 2-4. These questions all sound slightly "off". A demeanor is not a person, so you can not talk about one with the word "who". You can rephrase them as follows:

2-5- Whose demeanor is hers most like?

2-6- Whose demeanor is hers most similar to?

Hers is substituted for her demeanor. You want to know which person's demeanor is most like "hers" (whoever "she" is), so you should use the possessive pronoun whose.

That being said, I still think these "corrected" sentences sound kind of formal and awkward. You could probably get away with asking just:

2-7- Who is she most like?

2-8- Who is she most similar to?

Or to be more clear that you are talking about someone's demeanor, which I think is basically equivalent to attitude:

2-9- Who is she most like, attitude-wise?

2-10- Who is she most similar to, attitude-wise?

  • Thank you very much Mixolydian, but please let me know as per your statements, saying 2-7 & 2-8 using "whom" would be just formal, but it would work properly in written English only or when someone is giving a speech. Right?
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 7:07
  • 1
    @A-friend yes, using whom would be grammatically correct in examples 2-7 and 2-8 (As a statement: “She is most like (him/her)”- the part in parentheses is an object, not a subject). It would just sound more formal than using who. In writing or in a formal speech, yes, whom would sound more natural than in casual speech.
    – Mixolydian
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 12:43

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