Tricky Points of Pronoun Usage
This section covers some relatively tricky points which are no longer standard in spoken English, though many people still insist upon them in formal writing.
A pronoun should also be in the subject case when it is in apposition to a subject or subject complement, and in the object case when it is in apposition to the object of a verb, verbal, or preposition:
- [RIGHT] Three craftspeople -- Mary, Albert, and he -- made the accessory for Jerry.
- [RIGHT] The accessory was made by three craftspeople, Mary, Albert, and him.
- [RIGHT] The three craftspeople involved were Mary, Albert, and she.
The pronoun "she" is part of the subject complement, so it is in the subject case.
A first-person plural pronoun used with a noun takes the case of the noun. If the noun functions as a subject, the pronoun should be in the subject case; if the noun functions as an object, the pronoun should be in the object case:
- We rowdies left the restaurant late.
- The restaurant owner mumbled at all us slow eaters.
In elliptical comparisons, where the writer has left some words out of a sentence, the case of the pronoun at the end of the sentence determines its meaning. When a sentence ends with a subjective pronoun, the pronoun must serve as the subject of the omitted verb. When a sentence ends with an objective pronoun, the pronoun must serve as the object of the omitted verb:
- Ruth likes Jerry better than I.
- Ruth likes Jerry better than I like Jerry.
- Ruth likes Jerry better than me.
- Ruth likes Jerry better than she likes me.
Written by Dorothy Turner