When you use a pronoun in a sentence, be sure to
select the proper case according to the way the pronoun is used within
can be used as the subject of a sentence.
Objective: These are
used as the object of a preposition and as direct and indirect objects.
Possessive: These are
the pronouns which show ownership.
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.
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.
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.
Than or As When using than or as, consider the
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
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.
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.
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]
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.
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
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
- 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].
- 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.]
- Use the possessive case to show ownership. Mr. McMillan bought his
overcoat on sale. The children lost their new gloves.
- 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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Last updated: May 27, 1998
August 4, 2003