Whoever vs. whomever isn’t commonly used, but every now and then it comes up. Just this past week I had a lovely coworker ask me this rule. It takes a little thinking, but if you can remember him and he, you can remember which one to use.
Common Terms Used in This Post:
Pronoun: A word that takes the place of a noun. Eg: He, she, it, I, me
You’ll need to think about the sentence and replace the pronoun with either him or he:
Whoever: him + he
Pick [whoever/whomever] volunteers first.
Pick him. He volunteered first.
Whomever: him + him
We will visit [whoever/whomever] you recommend.
We will visit him. You recommend him.
I know it feels a little weird, but never fear! There’s a great quiz, so you can practice as much as you like. Of course, you can always cheat and just reword the sentence – which I also suggested to my coworker.
Please let me know [whoever/whomever] is the correct source to contact for the article.
To avoid usage: Please give me the most appropriate contact for the article. Who should I contact for the story?
No matter what you choose and as long as its correct, your readers will appreciate the accuracy. And if you’re ever in doubt, look it up or ask someone. It only takes a minute. Happy writing, everyone!
Source: The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, my brain