We have just interviewed an applicant who the committee believes is best qualified for the position.

We have just interviewed an applicant whom the committee believes is best qualified for the position.

Which is grammatically correct and what is difference between them?

When and how to use who and whom in this type of sentences? Please explain to me.

  • 1
    I think you may like this post:ell.stackexchange.com/questions/65647/is-whom-a-deprecated-word – Cardinal Aug 7 '16 at 9:58
  • @JavaLatte@Cardinal Thanks for providing the link. So, that means both can be right here? Or any one of above sentences is wrong? My book shows second is wrong. Could you please clarify me. – Omkar Reddy Aug 7 '16 at 10:05
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    "Who" is correct. "Who(m)" is not the object of "believe" (though it may seem to be) but the subject of the content clause "who is best qualified ..." embedded within the relative clause, and hence it must be the subjective case "who". We understand that the committee believes (that) "who", i.e. "the applicant", is best qualified for the job. Note that personal pronouns as subject of finite clauses take subjective case "he/she/we" etc., not objective "him/her/us" etc. – BillJ Aug 7 '16 at 12:42
  • Everyone of those who came here are foolish and cannot be relied upon. Could you please explain me whether are is right or wrong here. I think who refers to "those" which is plural so we can use "are". Am I right? Correct me if I'm wrong. – Omkar Reddy Aug 7 '16 at 18:03
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    @Ganesh.R It's a bit of a grey area. 'Every' is usually a distributive pronoun. This means that we are thinking about each person as an individual, and it normally takes singular verb agreement. "Every one was boreken", not "*Every one were broken". So is is probably best in your example. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Aug 7 '16 at 18:28

Your relative clause is

who/whom the committee believes is best qualified for the position.

You rewrite the relative clause putting a blank (_____) in where the relative pronoun goes:

the committee believes ______ is best qualified for the position.

You substitute the relative clause into the blank: either who or whom. If you are unsure which one is correct, then substitute either she or her. If she is correct use who; if her is correct, use whom.

(The correct answer here is who, since she and not her is correct.)

Note I've written this "easy and quick" answer because the original poster still did not know the answer after looking at the possible duplicated question(s), which, by the way, contain a morass of information– much of it confusing and some of it bad.

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    You're welcome. I think the question links that have been suggested may have contained an answer to your question somewhere (along with some not so good information), but I also know you looked the first link, at least, and were still unsure of the answer. – Alan Carmack Aug 7 '16 at 11:27
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    I looked both the links but still unsure. Since I am not a native speaker it's a bit difficult for me to understand those explanations. I found that we can write who instead of whom but I can't find good explaination like yours for how to use them. You've explained the way that a novice can understand very well. – Omkar Reddy Aug 7 '16 at 11:41
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    @Ganesh.R Whom is the objective case of who. Use of whom is usually correct when "who" is the object of a preposition or the direct or indirect object of a verb. If those terms aren't clear to you, you might want to start at the beginning by learning and understanding basic English grammar and parts of speech at a site like this one. – P. E. Dant Aug 8 '16 at 0:08

I think "who" is correct, because it acts as the subject in the clause " who is the best qualified for the position", which acts as an object of the verb " believe".

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