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Pronoun Tips

Several readers have written in regarding how often they both hear spoken and see in print the wrong usage of the pronouns I and me. Some readers wonder whether this is because some people think that the use of I rather than me sounds more formal or more distinctive, more upper class perhaps. I agree this is a very common error. Therefore, this week we will rerun our Grammar Tip on Pronouns, last run over a year ago. Next week, we will follow with the specific tip "I vs. Me" that we have not run since 2008.

Pronouns take the place of nouns.

Subject Pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, they

Object Pronouns: me, you, him, her, it, us, them

Rule: Use a Subject Pronoun (also called Nominative Case), not only as the subject of a sentence, but after to be verbs when the pronoun renames the subject.

To be verbs: is, are, was, were, will be, may be, may have been

Example: He is my friend.
He is the subject of the sentence, so use a subject pronoun.

Example: Enrique and she are friends.
Enrique and she are the subjects of the sentence.

Example: It is I who called.
I comes after the to be verb is and renames the subject it. Therefore, use the subject pronoun.

Rule: Use an Object Pronoun (also called Objective Case) when the pronoun is the direct object, the indirect object, or the object of the preposition.

Example: Ella met him at the restaurant.
Him is the direct object.

Example: Ella will give him his money back.
Him is an indirect object because you can mentally put the word to in front of it. Money is the direct object.

Example: Between you and me, this will never work. You and me are the objects of the preposition between.

Rule: Use reflexive pronouns—myself, himself, herself, itself, themselves, ourselves, yourself, yourselves—to refer back to another noun or pronoun in the sentence.

Correct Example: I did it myself.

Incorrect Example: Please give it to Butri or myself.
In this sentence, myself does not refer back to another noun or pronoun.

Due to the E-Newsletter's large readership, we are unable to respond to individual English usage questions.


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Wordplay

Thank you to Sandra and Lyndall for submitting these riddles. Scroll down to view answers.

1. Which is correct to say, "The yolk of the egg are white" or "The yolk of the egg is white"?

2. If a farmer has five haystacks in one field and four haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field?


68 One-Minute English Usage Videos

English In A Snap: 68 One-Minute English Usage Videos FREE 

Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.


Wordplay Answers

1. Neither is correct. The yolk of the egg is yellow.

2. One. If he combines all of his haystacks, they become one big stack.


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