Fun with Pronouns: you and me, you and I, him and me…
Posted by languageandgrammar on July 22, 2008
Nominative pronouns are pronouns that can be used as subjects of clauses or sentences. The nominatives are I, he, she, we, they, who, whoever. Objective pronouns are pronouns that can be used as objects. The objectives are me, him, her, us, them, whom, whomever. You, used either in the singular or plural, can be either nominative or objective.
Knowing the nominatives and objectives can come in pretty handy in determining which pronouns are correct in any given sentence.
- Him/he and I/me went to the races. In this sentence, the verb is went, but we need a subject, so we know that we need nominative pronouns. The sentence, therefore, should read He and I went to the races.
The second way of finding the correct pronouns is by separating each one into its own sentence. Him/he went to the races. I/me went to the races. We would never say Him went to the races or Me went to the races. It’s clear that the correct pronouns are he and I.
A third way is to combine both pronouns into one. Is it Us went to the races or We went to the races? Of course, it’s We went to the races, and since we is a nominative, we know that we need he and I, also nominative pronouns, when we convert the sentence back to singular pronouns.
- He gave the tickets to he/him and I/me. First, if you dissect the sentence, you see that gave is the verb, and he is the subject of that verb. To is the preposition, so the only thing we don’t have is an object of that preposition. Now, we know that objective pronouns are used as objects of prepositions, so it should be clear that the sentence is He gave the tickets to him and me because him and me are both objective pronouns.
If we separate the pronouns, we get He gave the tickets to he/him and He gave the tickets to I/me. It’s clear that it would be He gave the tickets to him and He gave the tickets to me. So, of course, it should be He gave the tickets to him and me.
Using our third method, we would combine the two pronouns into one. Would it be He gave the tickets to us or He gave the tickets to we? Of course, it’s He gave the tickets to us, and since us is objective, when we convert the sentence back to singular pronouns, we must also use objective pronouns. Thus, again, we have the correct sentence He gave the tickets to him and me.
- A popular phrase that often gets the wrong pronoun is Just between you and I/me…. , as in Just between you and I/me, I thought the dinner was overcooked. Many people automatically say Just between you and I…., but let’s test that.
In this case, because it is just an introductory phrase (not a sentence with a subject and verb), we can go straight to our third method: Would it be Just between us or Just between we? Of course, it would be Just between us, so the sentence should read Just between you and me, I thought….
Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever;
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