To Whom In A Sentence

Updated Jan 6, 2023

Who is "To Whom" in a Sentence?

When it comes to using the phrase "to whom" in a sentence, many people find themselves confused about its proper usage. In this article, we will explore the correct scenarios for using "to whom" and provide examples to help clarify any lingering doubts.

Understanding "To Whom"

"To whom" is an interrogative pronoun used to refer to the indirect object of a sentence. It is the objective case of "who" and is used when we want to inquire about the recipient or beneficiary of an action in a formal or professional context. While it may sound a bit old-fashioned and formal, it is still widely used in writing, particularly in formal letters, academic papers, and legal documents.

When to Use "To Whom"

  1. Formal Writing: "To whom" is commonly used in formal writing, such as business correspondence, academic essays, or legal documents. It adds a level of professionalism and shows respect for the recipient of the message.

Example: "To whom it may concern, I am writing to express my interest in the position advertised on your company's website."

  1. Indirect Questions: When we ask an indirect question, "to whom" can be used to inquire about the person to whom an action is directed.

Example: "He gave the gift to whom?" or "To whom did she address her speech?"

  1. Prepositions: In some cases, "to whom" is used after a preposition like "to" or "for," indicating the recipient of an action.

Example: "I sent a letter to whom?" or "For whom is this gift intended?"

When to Use "Who" Instead

While "to whom" is correct in formal writing or when referring to the recipient of an action, there are instances where "who" can be used instead without affecting the sentence's meaning. This substitution is more common in casual conversations or informal writing.

Example: "Whom did you invite to the party?" can be rewritten as "Who did you invite to the party?" without altering the sentence's overall sense.


Understanding the proper usage of "to whom" in a sentence can significantly improve your writing skills, particularly in formal contexts. Remember to use "to whom" when referring to the recipient of an action in a formal or professional setting, while "who" can be used interchangeably in more informal situations. By mastering this distinction, you can confidently communicate with clarity and precision.

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