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Section 6.18

Pronoun Case

A pronoun can appear in one of three cases:subjective, in which the pronoun functions as a subject; objective, in which the pronoun functions asan object; and possessive, in which the pronounfunctions as a possessor. The following list shows the subjective, objective,and possessive forms of the personal pronouns.

Subjective Objective Possessive
I me my
you you your
he him his
she her her
it it its
we us our
they them their
who whom whose
whoever whomever whose ever


Subjective Case

We observed no difference in outcome between groups in which differentintervals elapsed between the transposition of the gracilis muscle and theimplantation of the stimulator. [We is the subject of thesentence.]

--"Anal Dynamic Graciloplasty in the Treatment of Intractable FecalIncontinence," New England Journal of Medicine (modified)

Objective Case

The results of this study show us that in a majority of cases, thetransposed muscle can cope with a nonphysiologic level of action. [Us is the indirect object ofshow.]

--"Anal Dynamic Graciloplasty in the Treatment of Intractable FecalIncontinence," New England Journal of Medicine (modified)

Possessive Case

The patients in whom the technique was successful improved theirprofessional effectiveness and social ease. [Their indicatespossession of effectiveness and ease.]

--"Anal Dynamic Graciloplasty in the Treatment of Intractable FecalIncontinence," New England Journal of Medicine (modified)


If you are unsure which pronoun form to use after a coordinating conjunction, test the pronoun by itselfin the sentence, without the conjunction.


Unacceptable

John Conway, an Oxford professor, and some enthusiastic computer hackersworked together on the project. What Conway and them found wasthat even such a simple universe as Life could indeed exhibit sufficientlycomplex behavior to form computers, and possibly more.[What they found was . . . ]

Acceptable

What Conway and they found was that even such a simpleuniverse as Life could indeed exhibit sufficiently complex behavior to formcomputers, and possibly more.

Unacceptable

Playing with various Life patterns became a full-time obsessionfor Conway and they.

Acceptable

Playing with various Life patterns became a full-time obsessionfor Conway and them.

--Kai Wu, "Artificial Life," SciTech Magazine (modified)


If you are unsure which pronoun form to use after a coordinating conjunction, donot use a reflexive pronoun to avoid making achoice. Instead, test the pronoun by itself in the sentence, without theconjunction.


Unacceptable

Playing with various Life patterns became a full-time obsessionfor Conway and themselves.

Acceptable

Playing with various Life patterns became a full-time obsessionfor Conway and them.

--Kai Wu, "Artificial Life," SciTech Magazine (modified)


Use objective pronouns as subjects of infinitives.


In one of his experiments in the late 18th century, John Hunter, nowconsidered the father of modern surgery, marked two points in a growing pig'sbone and later found them to be the same distance apart in themature animal. He thus showed that bones grow in length only at theirends.

--Linglei Xu, "Bone Talk," Scitech Magazine (modified)


Use possessive pronouns with gerunds.


Although her calculating the necessary response basedon incomplete data was unorthodox, the desired results were neverthelessachieved.


Use whom as an object, who as asubject.


Unacceptable

The project was awarded to the engineer whom was mostfamiliar with the site and its problems.

Acceptable

The project was awarded to the engineer who was mostfamiliar with the site and its problems.


Many writers and speakers use who for both subjects and objects. Thisis widely accepted in informal contexts, but in formal writing, use onlywhom for the objective case.


Acceptable

The project was awarded to an engineer whom I knowwell.

Acceptable

I spoke to the engineer to whom the project wasawarded.


Reference Link Text
## Pronoun Case ##
Reference Link Text

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