Monday, January 14, 2008

Step One: Subjective Pronouns

If you missed it, please read my introductory post to understand why I am sounding so snarky about pronoun use.

When you use a pronoun as the subject of the sentence or a clause (as I have just and am about to use “you”), you’ve employed the subjective case of that pronoun. Please enjoy this exciting list of the appropriate pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, they, and who.

Now that you’ve settled down again, let’s consider why you care which pronoun forms act as subject. You treat a subject pronoun as if it were any other subject. It must agree in number with your verb and any objects.

When you create a compound sentence, such as, “She and I caught a show,” you use two subjects. The words work together just as if you’d said, “Shelly and Fred caught a show.” Using the subjective case tells your readers that you’ve made a complete sentence and that “she and I” are not the object of some other word that you’ve been foolish enough to omit or assume.

Up next: what objective pronouns look like and why you should care about that. After that, I’ll elucidate you on how to remember which pronoun belongs in which part of a sentence. Don’t worry, you can do it! [For those of you already well versed in pronoun use, please remember that I’m railing against misuse, not you. Bear with me, and I’ll post about other matters between my rants.]

After I posted this, I came across a prime example at The Grammar Blog. You see? It's not just me.