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Posts Tagged ‘objective pronouns’

Is It Him and I or Him and Me?

Posted by languageandgrammar on November 9, 2008

I’ve already written some general information about pronouns, but I think that it might be more helpful if I tackle them individually.

Here, I’ll talk about the personal pronouns him and I versus him and me.

Let’s get a couple of things straight. First, in choosing which personal pronouns to use, we have two groups: nominative and objective. Nominative personal pronouns are used as subjects, and objective personal pronouns are used as objects. Second, the nominative pronouns are I, he, she, we, and they; the objective pronouns are me, him, her, us, and them. You (singular), you (plural), and it are both nominative and objective and can be used in either case.

Now, when choosing personal pronoun pairs—in this case, him and I or him and me—–the next thing to keep in mind is that both pronouns must be of the same type; that is, either both must be nominative or both must be objective. Therefore, you can never use him and I together as either a compound subject or object because him is objective and I is nominative. It must be either him and me or he and I.

The next step is to find out how you determine whether you need either him and me or he and I in any particular sentence. Well, you can either read what I’ve already written on the subject (Fun with Pronouns), or you can just keep right on reading here.

Find the verb in the sentence. If the verb already has a subject, then you can’t use nominatives, and you’ll find that what you’re looking for are objectives. If the verb does not have a subject, then what you’re looking for are nominatives.

Ex: Him and me/He and I cheated on the test. The verb is cheated. Ask yourself who or what cheated; that’s the subject. Since that’s what we’re trying to determine in this sentence, you’re looking for a subject in this case, and you know that nominatives are subjects, and you also know that he and I are nominative pronouns, so the correct sentence is He and I cheated on the test.

Ex: The teacher was justified in giving detention to he and I/him and me. The verb is was justified. Ask yourself who or what was justified; that’s the subject. In this sentence, it was the teacher who was justified, so we already have the subject, so we can’t use nominatives. We must, then, be in need of objectives here, and if we examine the sentence further, we see that we do, indeed, need an object of the preposition to (the teacher was justified in giving detention to whom or to what?). We know that him and me are objective pronouns, so the correct sentence is The teacher was justified in giving detention to him and me.

For more common grammar errors, refer to Sherry’s Grammar List.

Sherry

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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….

Sherry

Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever;

Sherry’s Grammar List

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