Chicago Style Workout 59: Who, Me?

Oil painting by Gilbert Stuart Newton entitled 'Portia and Bassanio' from Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' (Act III, Scene 2). Great Britain, 1831.

Subject vs. Object

Certain pronouns change their form depending on whether they’re used as subjects or objects. These include the pronouns “who(ever)/whom(ever),” “I/me,” “she/her,” “he/him,” “they/them” and “we/us.” The ones that cause the most trouble are the first two subject/object pairs.

Most of the time it’s easy to figure out which one is right: “I’m going to do well on this quiz!” But in other cases, the right answer can be tricky: “We’ll give a prize to whoever we think deserves one.” (Should that “whoever” be “whomever”?)

In casual prose and conversation, the rules are often disregarded. In formal contexts, however, the subject/object distinction remains an important one. This quiz is designed to help you refresh your editorial instincts and polish your skills.

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual (cited in several of the answers). (For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Note: This quiz is looking for answers that reflect formally correct usage, which won’t necessarily coincide with common usage. It is designed to test your knowledge of chapter 5 in the 17th edition of CMOS.

Chicago Style Workout 59: Who, Me?

1. Give this book to whomever wants it.
2. Whomever you choose will need to take an editing test.
3. Who did you see last night?
4. Who should I say is calling?
5. It was who?
6. Caller: “May I please speak to the Queen?” Your response: “This is her.”
7. The test would be simple for you or me.
8. Please keep this between you and I.
9. The president and she are colleagues.
10. You are far wiser than I.


Top image: Gilbert Stuart Newton, Portia and Bassanio, 1831, oil on canvas, from act 3, scene 2, of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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