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Pronoun Case

Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

Pronoun case is defined as when to use which pronoun. Pronouns are used in 3 ways: as subjects, as objects or as possessives. One trick to identify the subject and make sure that the pronoun matches the subject.

Have you ever been in a situation where you're not sure whether to use who, or whom, or I, or me. What you're dealing with is Pronoun case.

Pronoun Case isn't too difficult of a concept but it can be confusing. In the English language, we use our pronouns in 3 different way. We can either use them as subjects; Suzie and I ran home. We can use them as objects; the dog bit me, or we can use them to show possession; the towel is mine.

This chart over here shows you the common pronouns that we use and whether they're used as subjects, objects or to show possession. The pronouns that we frequently use as subjects; I, you, he, she, it ,we, they and who. Pronouns used as objects; me, you, him, her, it, us, them, and whom. Then the pronouns used to show possession should sound familiar; my, your, his, her, its, ours, their and whose.

The good news is, the easy way to figure out Pronoun cases, is to figure out what role your pronoun is playing in the sentence, and then from there take a look at your chart. Decide should it be the subjective pronoun, the objective pronoun or the possessive pronoun? Let's look at some more tricks that will help you figure this out.

The first trick I have is that after a preposition, no matter what, you're going to use the objective form. We know that prepositions take objects, so that makes sense. Then after a to be verb, no matter what you're always going to use the subjective form. Let's look at some examples.

My brother is way nicer than (blank). We have a subject in the sentence, we've got a verb and this is not the same thing as the brother. This is a different person, so it would be the objective form which is me; my brother is way nicer than me. You wouldn't say my brother is way nicer than I. That was a simple one.

Here's one that I used to get scolded all the time for; is Katie there? This is (blank). This is 'she' or this 'her'? Now I know it sounds more natural to say her, but let's see if that's the right form. We've got Katie as our subject and she's got a verb. She's being there, and it says this is. Whatever this pronoun is, me or she, or her, replaces Katie. So it's a reference back to the subject, we call that a subject compliment. If it's a reference back to the subject, we need to make sure to use the subjective form. Even though we would rather say this is her, the grammatically correct way to say is this is she.

There's the girl to (blank) I was talking. Well now this keys into one of those little tricks I taught you. 'To' is a preposition.We know when a preposition comes directly to the left of our pronoun, we've got to use the objective form because our preposition needs an object; so this is the girl to whom I was talking, and that's a good trick for who or whom.

My dog and (blank) went swimming; will this be me or will this be I? Well we can look here and see. My dog and (blank) is the subject, and what they're doing is going swimming. So we've got to use the subjective form here, which is I.

Couple of tricks that I can show you on that one, if you're totally stuck still, is first if you're not sure and you've got a compound subject, cover up the other part of the subject and see what makes sense. I went swimming sounds good, me went swimming doesn't sound so good.

The other trick would be, if you're still not sure, cover up your pronoun look to the left, if you have a preposition, it should be the objective form. We don't have a preposition here, 'and' is a conjunction, so now we've got to look to the right. If you look to the right of your covered up pronoun, and you see a subject, you're going to go with the objective form. But if we look here, we don't see a subject. We just see 'went swimming', so we know this needs a subject, so it got to be in the subjective.

Hopefully this taught you a few tricks to help you decide on when to use those tricky pronouns.