What is the Difference Between "Whoever" and "Whomever"?

Whomever and whoever both mean no matter who. Strictly speaking, whomever is used as the object of the verb in a clause while whoever is used as the subject. 

  • Nobody deserves your tears but whoever deserves them won't make you cry.
  • Whoever commits acts disturbing public order shall be detained for fifteen days.
  • Love whomever you want, for you will leave him.
  • The strongest influences in my life and my work are always whomever I love.

Whoever co-occurs with a large class of verbs while whomever frequently comes with just a few verbs such as choose, like, please, want, and wish.  Check out these examples:

  • I haven't reported my missing credit card because whoever stole it is spending less than my wife.
  • Whoever can suprise well must conquer.
  • Google Latitude helps you share your location continuously with whomever you choose.
  • Cielo thinks she can marry whomever she pleases. 

Unfortunately, this case distinction between subjective whoever and formal objective whomever is unsupported by current grammar and usage guides. Speakers and writers of modern English tend to use whoever as either the subject or object, as shown below:

  • Whoever (standard: Whomever) you marry, make sure he can cook. (whoever is the object of the verb marry)
  • He will give a box of chocolate to whoever (standard: whomever) he likes best.
  • I'm willing to talk to whoever (standard: whomever) you think I should talk to. 
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