Grammar Wednesday

In honor of our upcoming Secretary of Education, I’d like to take a moment to clarify the difference between subjective and objective pronouns.

A subjective pronoun is one that acts as the – Bueller? Bueller? – subject of a sentence. I, you, he, she, it, we, and they are subjective pronouns.

She and I went to the conference.

They would have gone, but they missed the registration deadline.

You didn’t miss much; it was terribly boring.

Objective pronouns serve as the – say it with me, now – objects of the sentence.  This seems to be the one that people (*cough*  Secretary Duncan *cough*) seem to have the most trouble with.  Objective pronouns are me, you, him, her, it, us, and them.

My uncle was especially generous to my sister and me.

This past semester was hard on them, but it was a brutal 15 weeks for her.

If you forget to give me your key, I’ll have to break in to feed the cat.

Finally, Secretary Duncan’s mistake: “I want to thank our mutual friend John Rogers who has been a mentor and friend to me since I was ten years old. He gave my sister and I the opportunity to start a great school in the South side of Chicago…” He should have said “my sister and me.”  Rogers didn’t give opportunity to I, he gave it to me.

Get it?



Filed under Grammar

4 responses to “Grammar Wednesday

  1. Oh, yes, I get it! Too bad so many people don’t!

  2. So, you’re saying our new SecEd isn’t exactly off to a roaring start?


  3. My 7th grade English teacher cleared that up for me (my first year of real English classes after 6 years of Spanish immersion) by explaining that you use the same pronoun when talking about yourself and someone else as you would when talking only about yourself. Never had an issue since then.

  4. I’m not convinced that people who “confuse” pronouns aren’t making a mistake so much as just using an informal register. After all, they don’t confuse pronouns on all cases. We don’t find “give it to I” for instance. The “wrong” case is only used when the pronoun is joined with “and” to another pronoun or noun. I think that’s interesting.

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