September 23, 2016


By Joseph L. Richardson

I am not writing this article about myself, but about the pronouns me, I, her, him, she, and others, especially subjective case pronouns used instead of objective case pronouns.

Have the rules for the English language changed since I went to school many years ago? Way back then—before English was renamed “Language Arts”—correct English was stressed in school. If you didn’t pass English, you didn’t advance to the next grade. I am not a grammar expert, but some things I do remember from English classes.

Today I often hear and read the incorrect use of subjective pronouns used in the objective case. Is it now correct to say “Sam went to the movie with she and I?” No, but I hear and see that type misuse frequently. Perhaps some people feel that her and me are too informal.

During the last few months I have read four novels by a well-known mystery writer. Throughout the books he wrote, “…with Suzie and I or so-and-so and I.”  I’ve also heard TV reporters or celebrities use the subjective pronoun instead of the objective. I could write an article on subjective and objective pronouns, but I doubt many readers would read the whole thing. Instead, there is a simple way to determine the correct usage.

When you have more than one objective pronouns in a sentence, such as “Sam went with she and I,” there is a simple test for correctness. Read it as though there were two sentences. Would you say “Sam went with she” or “Sam went with I?” NO. Then use the objective pronouns you used in the individual sentences. “Sam went with her,” and “Sam went with me.” Simple, easy, and correct.

SO: She and I (subjective) went to the movie with him and her (objective)
He and she (subjective) went to the movie with her and me (objective).
Joseph Richardson, is a native Floridian raised on a farm between Ocala and Silver Springs until age fifteen when the family moved to St. Petersburg. Graduated from St. Petersburg High School and earned a B.S. from the University of Alabama. He retired from NASA, Kennedy Space Center after more than thirty-five years government service including U.S. Army, Internal Revenue Service and NASA. Was Chief, Administration and Logistics for Expendable Launch Vehicles and Shuttle Payloads Operations. Joe is an army veteran of the Korean War. He lives in Titusville, FL with Joan, his wife of sixty-one years, and their three “rescued” cats. FIRE ANGELS received the 2015 Patrick D. Smith Award for Literary Excellence. And previously received a five star review and Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest 2014 Self-Published eBook competition.


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