Writers Workshop: Writer Resources
Grammar Handbook: Noun and Pronoun Case
Case refers to how nouns and pronouns are used in relation to the other words in a sentence. The three cases are subjective, objective, and possessive. See below for a chart of pronoun cases.
Subjective case is sometimes called the nominative case. A noun or pronoun is in the subjective when it is used as the subject of the sentence or as a predicate noun. A predicate noun follows a form of the "be" verb, and it renames the subject of the sentence. In the following examples, nouns and pronouns in the subjective case are in orange.
- I hope to finish my paper tonight.
- Valerie danced in the statewide competition.
- He is a clown. (The word clown is a predicate noun)
A noun or pronoun is in the objective case when it is used as a direct object, an indirect object, or an object of the preposition.
- Dad prepared the dinner.
- Our dog crawled under the fence.
- Mom gave us the money.
A noun or pronoun is in the possessive case when it is used to show ownership of an object:
- Mom washed Valerie's leotard.
- Where did you find her book?
A Chart of Pronoun Cases
This section has information about how to use pronouns correctly.
Contributors: Chris Berry, Allen Brizee, Eugene Charles McGregor Boyle III, Rachel Atherton, Elizabeth Geib, Margaret Sheble, Heather Murton
Last Edited: 2010-04-17 05:56:40
Pronoun Case is really a very simple matter. There are three cases.
- Subjective case: pronouns used as subject.
- Objective case: pronouns used as objects of verbs or prepositions.
- Possessive case: pronouns which express ownership.
|Pronouns as Subjects||Pronouns as Objects||Pronouns that show Possession|
|he, she, it||him, her, it||his, her (hers), it (its)|
The pronouns This, That, These, Those, and Which do not change form.
Some problems of case:
1. In compound structures, where there are two pronouns or a noun and a pronoun, drop the other noun for a moment. Then you can see which case you want.
Not: Bob and me travel a good deal.
(Would you say, "me travel"?)
Not: He gave the flowers to Jane and I.
(Would you say, "he gave the flowers to I"?)
Not: Us men like the coach.
(Would you say, "us like the coach"?)
2. In comparisons. Comparisons usually follow than or as:
He is taller than I (am tall).
This helps you as much as (it helps) me.
She is as noisy as I (am).
Comparisons are really shorthand sentences which usually omit words, such as those in the parentheses in the sentences above. If you complete the comparison in your head, you can choose the correct case for the pronoun.
Not: He is taller than me.
(Would you say, "than me am tall"?)
3. In formal and semiformal writing:
Use the subjective form after a form of the verb to be.
Formal: It is I.
Informal: It is me.
Use whom in the objective case.
Formal: To whom am I talking?
Informal: Who am I talking to?