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Friday, June 14, 2013

Object Pronoun Phobia!

Do you cringe when you hear (or read) someone say, "him and me"? Does the phrase "he and I" always sound better to you, no matter what the sentence?

Then you might be suffering from a case of object pronoun phobia!

photo by Bantosh, Wikemedia Commons
Yes, many people, having heard object pronouns improperly used as subjects too many times, particularly in compound subjects (as in "Him and me went to the movies." Youch!), have begun to over-correct in the opposite direction. These well-intentioned grammar advocates avoid the objective case at all costs... even when the syntax of the sentence would demand otherwise.

SLPs, teachers, linguists, and grammar lovers of all types: let's stop the madness here and now! Let's get those object pronouns back into usage, this time where they belong!

Here is a quick, simplified grammar review to get us all back on track.

  • Subject pronouns (I, you, he, she, we, you, they) are the agent of an independent or dependent clause; most often, the subject of the sentence. Rarely do we see professionals making mistakes here.

  • Object pronouns (me, you, him, her, us, you, them) are the recipient of an action or the object of a preposition. This is where the confusion sets in, particularly in sentences with 2 pronouns linked by "and" (or a noun and a pronound linked by "and").

If this mini grammar review has you wondering if you've been avoiding object pronouns, put your sentences through this test: how would the sentence sound if I omitted the other person/thing?

For example, this sentence might sound perfectly constructed to you:

     "We want to thank everyone who sent cards to my husband and I for our anniversary."

Omit the other person (sorry, husband), and hopefully the error becomes glarringly obvious:

     "We want to thank everyone who sent cards to I for our anniversary."

See the problem? If you would say, "...who sent cards to me," then you also should say, "... who sent cards to my husband and me."

I know, I know. There will be a few people who think you don't know correct grammar when they hear you say that... but that's only because they don't know correct grammar. So be strong, be brave, and put those object pronouns back into use!

Anyone grammar lovers with me on this one?

1 comment:

  1. English Pronouns is very important because its structure is used in every day conversation. The more you practice the subject, the closer you get to mastering the English language.

    Subject and Object Pronouns