Are the examples below correct? Instead of using the pronoun "whom" could I use the word "that" and the preposition "with" at the end?

some argue that they prefer to have friends that they never disagree with


some argue that they prefer to have friends with whom they never disagree


They're both totally correct.

The only reason to use the "with whom" version is if you're trying to avoid ending with a preposition ("with"), which is one of those archaic grammatical rules that still clings around the edges of formal English even though nobody actually talks like that anymore. Only the stuffiest editor would insist on "with whom" in a publication, and for anything less formal, the rule is entirely optional.

Arguably, there never was such a rule at all -- at one time, there were a number of educated people who tried to make a bunch of special rules for "proper" English that were designed to make English function more like Latin, which they considered the best language. "Never end a sentence with a preposition" and "never split an infinitive" are two of those rules.


Most people would use the first in speech, rather than the second.

Some people would use the second rather than the first in formal writing.


Both are correct, and it is true, whom is preferred in writing.

But you can also use your "trick" with whom as well:

Some argue that they prefer to have friends whom they never disagree with.

But I guess we would need a native to tell us in what way the above sentence is different from

Some argue that they prefer to have friends with whom they never disagree with.

  • The "with whom" version is slightly more formal than the "whom...with" version. The "whom...with" version is probably rarer, and it might seem to some people like a stylistic mismatch. As mentioned in another answer, there was formerly a purported rule against ending sentences with prepositions.
    – rjpond
    Dec 11 '20 at 22:40
  • That is so interesting. I would think a more formal phrase would be rarer than a less formal one. Could you pass me the link to the answer which you refer to?
    – fev
    Dec 12 '20 at 8:16
  • 1
  • Link 2 - so very funny! One thing I like about the English language is the ability it has to laugh at itself with such clever irony and humour. I guess every language has a bit of that, but English would be on top of my list if I had to vote :) Thank you for all the links. Enriching
    – fev
    Dec 12 '20 at 10:46

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