I am really confused about this as well. Please give me a detailed description.
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Use who as the subject, and use whom as the object. Here's a trick, the subject generally comes before the verb, and the object comes after the verb:

Pat gave Max a book.
Who gave whom . . . .

Prepositions also have objects:

Pat gave the book to Max.
Pat gave the book to whom?

With the passive, the subject and the object switch positions, so the object comes before the verb:

Max was given a book.
*Whom was given a book? (edited; thanks Mr P.)
Who was given the book?

"Who" comes before the verb. "Whom" comes before a preposition or after the verb:

To whom was the book given?
The book was given to whom?
Who gave whom the book?

Speakers often shorten "whom" to "who":

Pat gave Max a book.
Who gave who . . . .

Max was given a book.
Who was given a book?

Pat gave the book to Max.
Who gave the book to who?

If in doubt, look for the verb. It will guide you:

Active: who VERB whom
Passive: whom VERB
When there's a preposition: PREPOSITION whom

If it's a question, put it back into a statement:

Question: Who/Whom did you speak with?
Statement: I spoke with whom? ('with' is a preposition)
Casi:

With the passive, the subject and the object switch positions, so the object comes before the verb:

Max was given a book.
Whom was given a book?

Speakers often shorten "whom" to "who":


I'm confused by something you've said here, Casi. Are you saying that "Max" is the object in the sentence, "Max was given a book." ?
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JTT wrote:
I'm confused by something you've said here, Casi. Are you saying that "Max" is the object in the sentence, "Max was given a book." ?


Yes. That's correct, JTT. "Max" has a dual function: It's the structural subject but it's also the semantic object (indirect kind) of the verb. Does that help ease your confusion?

Max (IO) was given the book (DO).

IO = indirect object
DO = direct object
Hello Casi

I too am puzzled. In this example, for instance, 'who' is the subject, and 'book' is the object:

1. 'Who was given the book?'

While here, 'Max' is the subject, and 'book' is again the object:

2. 'Max was given the book.'

While here:

3. *'Whom was given the book?'

the 'whom' is ungrammatical, and should be changed to 'who' ('book' is still the object). Otherwise the sentence has no subject. Cf:

4. *'Him was given the book.'

It's true that the subject of the verb is not the agent of the verb, in #1 and #2. But the subject form surely still applies.

Lighten our darkness...

MrP
Hello Casi

I think we would say;
Who/Whom was the book given to?
but we can't say;
(*) Who/Whom was given the book?

paco
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Hello JKB

We have already talked a lot on something related to this issue.
If you are interested in our discussion, please visit;[url="http://www.EnglishForward.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=67735 "]post 67735[/url]

paco.
Thanks, Paco, I'd forgotten about that thread!

Since we're discussing passive constructions ('who was given the book?') rather than active constructions ('to whom did you give the book?'), it might be easier to take an example whose 'active version' doesn't contain an indirect object:

1. Who was killed? – subject pronoun 'who' in passive construction.
2. Whom did you kill? – object pronoun 'whom' in active construction.

It's also very common to use 'who' instead of 'whom' in sentences like #2:

3. Who did you kill? – object pronoun 'who' in active construction.

MrP
but we can't say;
(*) Who/Whom was given the book?

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"Who was given the book?" is fine, Paco.
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