Monday, July 21, 2014

The Least You Should Know - Choosing the Right Pronoun

There are two types of pronouns: subjects and non subjects. If not used properly, they can cause difficulties when writing.



If you use pronouns in the Subject Group, they can be used two ways:

1. as a subject of a verb

For example:

She is my sister. (She is the subject of the verb is)
We boys played basketball. (We is the subject of the verb played.)
He is taller than I. (If this sentence was written completely, it would read, "He is taller than I am." I is  the subject of the verb am. This may be a bit tricky for you. However, when you see than in a sentence, ask yourself whether a verb has been left off. Add the verb, and then you'll automatically use the correct pronoun. In both speaking and writing, always add the verb. Instead of saying "She's smarter than (I, me)." say, "She's smarter than I am." There is no way to fail using the correct pronoun if you follow this simple rule.

2. as a word that mean the same as the subject:
That girl in the shorts is she. (She is the word that means the same as the subject girl. Therefore the pronoun from the Subject Group is used.)
It was he all right. (He means the same as the subject It. Therefore, the pronoun from the Subject Group is used.)

In modern usage, there are some exceptions to the rule. It is me and it is us (instead of grammatically correct it is I and it is we) are now established usage, and it is him, it is her, and it is them are widely used, especially in informal speech.

Pronouns in the Non Subject Group are used for all other purposes.

In the following sentence, me is not the subject, nor does it mean the same as the subject. Therefore it comes from the Non Subject Group.

She came with Karen and me.

A good rule of thumb for telling which pronoun to use is to leave out the extra name. By leaving out Karen, you will say, She came with me. You would never say She came with I.

Have you learned enough about pronouns than you ever thought you would? Do you have more questions? Leave them in the comments. We'll get to them as soon as we can.

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