When a relative pronoun introduces a question, it is called an interrogative pronoun. Who, whom, whose, what, that, which, whoever, whichever, and whatever are interrogative pronouns.
Who is there?
What do you want?
Which shall I choose?
Whom are you calling?
Whoever would do that?
A sentence doesn't have to end with a question mark in order to contain an interrogative pronoun. Sometimes an interrogative pronoun introduces a question that is contained inside a declarative sentence:
She asked who was there.
Wakefield wondered what they wanted.
I don't know which is best.
Write each interrogative pronoun that you find in each sentence.
In order to decide whether we should use who or whom, we must determine what part the interrogative pronoun plays in the sentence. If the interrogative pronoun functions as a subject or a predicate nominative, we use who.
Who sang the solo? (subject)
The soloist was who? (predicate nominative)
Who submitted the Virginia plan? (subject)
The new senator is who? (predicate nominative)
If the interrogative pronoun is an object (direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition), we use whom.
Whom did Madison oppose? (direct object)
To whom did Paterson present his plan? (object of a preposition)
To make sure that we have used the interrogative pronouns who or whom correctly, we can turn questions into statements, substituting he or she for who, and him or her for whom:
Do not confuse whose and who's. Whose is a possessive or interrogative pronoun. Who's is a contraction for "who is." Possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes.
Who's that? (Who is that?)
Whose parakeet is that?
Choose the correct interrogative pronoun for each sentence.
1. The interrogative pronoun is used as the subject, so we choose who.
Who became the fourth President?
2. The interrogative pronoun is used as an object, so we choose whom.
Whom did they elect?
To make sure that we have used the interrogative pronouns who or whom correctly, we change the question into a statement, substituting he or she for who, and him or her for whom.
3. The interrogative pronoun is used as an object of a preposition, so we choose whom.
To whom were you speaking?
4. Who's is a contraction for "who is." We choose whose because it is the interrogative pronoun.
This wig belongs to me, but whose is that?
When which, whose, and what come before nouns, they are adjectives. When which, whose, and what stand alone, they are interrogative pronouns.
Tell whether the italicized word in each sentence is an adjective or an interrogative pronoun.