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Pronoun Case

When you use a pronoun in a sentence, be sure to select the proper case according to the way the pronoun is used within the sentence.

Subjective: These can be used as the subject of a sentence.
 
I you he/she/it we you they
Objective: These are used as the object of a preposition and as direct and indirect objects.
 
me us you him/her it them
Possessive: These are the pronouns which show ownership.
 
my your his/her its our their
mine yours hers ours theirs
 

Subjective Case

  1. Use the subjective case when the pronoun is the subject of a verb. She skied at Wintergreen last year. They borrowed my umbrella. We caught the man who stole our car.
  2. Use the subjective case when the pronoun follows the verb be or become and identifies the subject of the sentence (subject complement). The editors were Billy and I. The winners are they.
  3. Use the subjective case when the pronoun is an appositive identifying a subject or subject complement. Two people, Sara and she, worked late. The singers, Sammy and he, won an award.
Objective Case
  1.  Use the objective case when the pronoun is a direct object or an indirect object. Lisa likes me. Lisa likes Bill and him. We gave them the ball.
  2. Use the objective case when the pronoun is the object of a preposition. Harold walked to the store with us. Harold walked between Sharon and me.
  3. Use the objective case when the pronoun is an appositive that identifies an object. The boss fired the men, Tom and him. I saw one person, her.
  4. Use the objective case when the pronoun is the object of a verbal or the subject of an infinitive. Electing her was easy. [object of gerund] Having chosen me, the team left. [object of participle] Mary ran to help him. [object of infinitive] We invited them to go with us. [subject of infinitive]
Than or As When using than or as, consider the implied words.
  1.  Annie likes Ben more than him. Annie likes Ben more than [she likes] him. Therefore, the pronoun after than is the object of the implied verb likes.
  2. Annie likes Ben more than he. Annie likes Ben more than he [likes Ben]. Therefore, the pronoun after than is the subject of the implied verb likes
Who and Whom in subordinate (also called dependent) clauses, determine the function of the pronoun in the clause in which who or whom is used.
  1.  Use who for the subject of a clause. Give the clothes to the person [who needs them]. I cannot remember [who was sitting on the couch].
  2. Use whom for the object of a clause. Larry is the man [whom most people prefer]. The manager hired the man [whom her boss recommended.]

Possessive Case

  1.  Use the possessive case to show ownership. Mr. McMillan bought his overcoat on sale. The children lost their new gloves.
  2. Use the possessive case as the subject of a gerund. Their flying to Nashville was my suggestion. I am not responsible for your failing the test.
 
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Comments: writcent@tcc.edu
Last updated: May 27, 1998

Comments: writcent@tcc.edu
Last revision: August 4, 2003
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