- WHO stands for the World Health Organization.
An example of WHO is the organization that is concerned with international public health matters.
- The definition of who is a reference to a person or people.
An example of who is someone asking the identity of a person; who is that child?
- what or which person or persons: used to introduce a direct, indirect, or implied question: who is he? I asked who he was; I don't know who he is
- the person or persons that, or a person that: used to introduce a relative clause: the man who came to dinner
- any person or persons that; whoever: used as an indefinite relative with an implied antecedent: “who steals my purse steals trash”
Origin of whoMiddle English who, ho, hwo ; from Old English hwa, masculine and amp; feminine , hwæt, neuter , who? what? (akin to Classical Latin qui): for Indo-European base see what
as who should say
- What or which person or persons: Who left?
- Used as a relative pronoun to introduce a clause when the antecedent is a person or persons or one to whom personality is attributed: the visitor who came yesterday; our child, who is gifted; informed sources who denied the story.
- The person or persons that; whoever: Who believes that will believe anything.
Origin of whoMiddle English, from Old English hwa; see kwo- in Indo-European roots. Usage Note: The traditional rules that determine the use of who and whom are relatively simple: who is used for a grammatical subject, where a nominative pronoun such as I or he would be appropriate, and whom is used as the object of a verb or preposition. Thus, it is correct to say The actor who played Hamlet was excellent, since who stands for the subject of played Hamlet, and Who do you think is the best candidate? where who stands for the subject of is the best candidate. Who is also required when it would be part of the predicate of a linking verb construction. For example, in She finally found out who her real friends were, who is part of the predicate of the linking verb (its predicate nominative), while her real friends is the subject of the predicate. In contrast, traditional grammar requires To whom did you give the letter? since whom is the object of the preposition to, and The man whom the papers criticized did not show up, since whom is the object of the verb criticized. These traditional rules apply in the same manner to whoever and whomever. The rules were formulated by grammarians in the 1700s who noticed that the two words were often used interchangeably, with whom sometimes being used as a subject, and who as an object. In fact, this variation goes back to the 1300s. Today, the rules are well established as a part of formal Standard English. Nonetheless, whom is uncommon in speech and informal writing because of its inherently formal tone. When formality is not required, who generally replaces whom. Sentences such as It was better when he knew who to pay attention to and who to ignore sound perfectly natural, despite violating the traditional rules. In many contexts, whom sounds forced or pretentiously correct, as in Whom do you think John's been dating? In sentences in which whom is a relative pronoun, that can often be used instead: The electrician that the school hired has rewired four rooms so far. The players that the coach reprimanded stayed late to work on their conditioning. • Note that separating the word whom from the preposition of which it is the object is stylistically awkward. Whom did you give your books to? is more naturally expressed as Who did you give your books to? If the preposition and whom (or who) are not placed at the front of the clause, who is usually acceptable, at least in informal contexts: I need to know who lied to who. Interestingly, if both the preposition and who/whom are moved to the front of the clause, the form used must be whom, even in many informal contexts: To whom (not to who) should we address these packages? But note that who is correct when it follows a preposition as the subject of the subsequent clause: The reporters differ as to who they think might win the nomination. I want to vote for who(ever) can best lead the country in a time of crisis. If sentences like these seem awkward, they can be recast with nouns as the objects of the prepositions: The reporters differ as to which candidate they think might win the nomination. I want to vote for the candidate who can best lead the country in a time of crisis. • The relative pronoun who may be used in restrictive clauses, in which case it is not preceded by a comma, or in nonrestrictive clauses, in which case a comma is required. Thus it is acceptable to say either The scientist who discovers a cure for cancer will be immortalized, where the clause who discovers a cure for cancer indicates which scientist will be immortalized, or The mathematician over there, who solved the four-color theorem, is widely known, where the clause who solved the four-color theorem adds information about a person already identified by the phrase the mathematician over there. See Usage Notes at else, that, whose.
(singular or plural, nominative case, possessive whose, objective case whom)
(Note that who is usually used instead of whom, especially in informal contexts.)
- (interrogative pronoun) What person or people; which person or people (used in a direct or indirect question).
- Who is that? (direct question)
- I don't know who it is. (indirect question)
- (relative pronoun) The person or people that.
- It was a nice man who helped us.
Whom is an object pronoun, while who is both a subject and object pronoun. One would never use whom as the subject of a verb though who is commonly used as an object. One method to use to determine correctness of who vs. whom is to rephrase the sentence to eliminate who or whom in favor of he, him, she, her, they or them. If you would have used he, she, or they, in place of the word, then who is the correct word; if you would have used him, her, or them, then either who or whom is correct. The exception is when it is the object of a fronted prepositional phrase in a question or relative clause, in which case whom is almost always used (e.g., With whom (not who) did you go?).
The forms whoever and whomever usually belong to two clauses: an internal clause and an external clause. In "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods", the verb of the internal clause is undertakes and the verb of the external clause is is shipwrecked. The case of who(m)ever is determined by the internal clause: the nominative (subjective) case whoever is used because it is the subject of the verb undertakes. The subject of the external clause is not actually whoever by itself, but rather the entire internal clause: if we allow the variable X to stand for the internal clause, the external clause is "X is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods". If an internal clause is the object of an external clause, the case of who(m)ever is still determined by its role in the internal clause, for example: "Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone". Here, the external clause is "Let X cast the first stone" and the internal clause is "whoever is without sin". Whoever is the subject of the internal clause, so it is in the nominative case. Even though X in the external clause is the object (compare "Let him cast the first stone), it is the internal clause that decides whether whoever or whomever is correct. "Let whomever is without sin cast the first stone" is thus strictly speaking incorrect (although such constructions are widely encountered).
When "who" (the other relative pronouns "that" and "which") is used as the subject of a relative clause, the verb agrees with the antecedent of the pronoun. Thus "I who am...", "He who is...", "You who are...", etc.
- A person under discussion; a question of which person.
- The World Health Organization