• Ashan R. Hampton

When to Use "Who or Whoever"?

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

When to Use "Who or Whoever" in English grammar

Use who or whoever if you can substitute the following pronouns for the “who” phrase: he, she, they, I, we. These nominative pronouns function as subjects. The substitution test takes a statement and turns it into a question (or vice versa) to determine the correct usage.


1. Who is waiting?

Substitution phrase:He / She is waiting.

2. Who did they say was chosen?

Substitution phrase:He / She / I was chosen.

3. The job goes to whoever answers the ad first.

Who answers the ad first?

Substitution phrase:He / She answers the ad first.

Excerpt from the book Grammar Essentials for Proofreading, Copyediting & Business Writing in Chapter 8: Common Usage Errors.

Ashan R. Hampton is a long-time English instructor turned entrepreneur. Through her company, Onyx Online Education & Training, she offers digital courses and print books on grammar, proofreading, business writing and communication for personal and professional development to individuals and corporations. To find out more about Ashan's work, visit www.arhampton.com.


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