Subject and Object Pronouns

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English I EOC AssessmentParts of Speech
Grammar & PunctuationGrammar
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:23

In grammar, pronouns like "they" and "them" can be used to stand in for nouns.

00:28

However, some pronouns only work as subjects, while other pronouns only work as objects.

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In a sentence, a subject performs an action...

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...while the action in a sentence happens to an object.

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Trying to make an object pronoun the subject of a sentence or a subject pronoun the object

00:44

of a sentence...

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...is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

00:47

Let's look at some examples of pronoun placement gone terribly awry. Say we have the sentence,

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"Him went to the grocery store to stock up on candy canes."

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"Him" is an object pronoun. It can't be the subject of our sentence. So, let's

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change things up a bit.

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"He went to the grocery store to stock up on candy canes."

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"He" is a subject pronoun, so it fits perfectly into our example.

01:11

Here's another sentence: "Them took they cow tipping."

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Looks like someone got their pronouns switched. It might have been that poor, startled cow.

01:23

As "them" is an object pronoun and "they" is a subject pronoun, this sentence should

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read, "They took them cow tipping." From our examples, we know that subject pronouns

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are completely different from object pronouns.

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Subject pronouns include the words "I", "he", "she", "they", and "we".

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Object pronouns include the words "me", "him", "her", "them", and "us".

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However, there's one word that can serve as either a subject pronoun or an object pronoun...

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...the word "you". Say we have the sentence, "You went for

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a swim in the very cold ocean."

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Here, the word "you" is a subject pronoun.

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But what if we have this sentence? "Brad forced you to swim in the very cold ocean."

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This time, the "you" is an object pronoun. The other amazing thing about the word "you"

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is that it can be singular...

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...as we saw in our two previous examples...

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...or plural. What does this mean? "You" can stand in for one person...

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...or many people. Say a tour guide is leading her group of twenty

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tourists around Pamplona, and she tells them, "Watch out! You don't want to get run

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over by a bull!"

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In this example, the "you" isn't just a subject pronoun...

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...it's a plural subject pronoun.

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Say our tour guide is driving her horde through Barcelona, and she tells them, "Now I'll

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show you the part of town where the pickpockets live."

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In this example, the "you" isn't just an object pronoun...

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...it's a plural object pronoun. We've been over the basics of subject and

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object pronouns, but what happens when we have more than one person as the subject or

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object of a sentence?

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What happens... is that people get confused and switch their pronouns around.

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Say we have the sentence, "Lisa and me ate an entire gallon of chocolate chip cookie

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dough ice cream."

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"Me" doesn't belong as a subject of this sentence; it's an object pronoun.

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Instead, our sentence should read, "Lisa and I ate an entire gallon of chocolate chip

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cookie dough ice cream."

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The grammar in our example is now correct...

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...even if the decision to pack away so many calories wasn't.

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Or say we have the sentence, "Grandma gave she and Tom ugly sweaters for their birthdays."

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"She" is a subject pronoun; it doesn't belong as an object of this sentence.

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Our sentence should read, "Grandma gave her and Tom ugly sweaters for their birthdays."

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Yay, correct grammar! Boo, poor gift choice! Just because a sentence has two people as

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subjects or two people as objects...doesn't mean we should get so turned around that we

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mix up our pronouns.

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To keep poor grammar at bay, just remember this tip...

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...when faced with a sentence with multiple subjects or objects, narrow the subjects or

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objects down to one...

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...in order to select the correct subject pronoun or object pronoun.

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For example, say we have the sentence, "John and I-slash-me went to the rave last night."

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If John's presence scrambles the brain, just kick him out of the sentence for a moment.

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This leaves us with, "I-slash-me went to the rave last night."

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"I" is a subject pronoun, so that's the pronoun we want in this sentence, instead

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of the object pronoun "me".

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So, the sentence in its entirety should read, "John and I went to the rave last night."

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There's one last thing we need to know about subject and object pronouns...

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...whenever a pronoun is part of a prepositional phrase, we always use an object pronoun...

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...never a subject pronoun.

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Just to review, prepositions normally describe relationships or show possession...

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...and some examples of prepositions include the words "between", "above", "including",

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and "over". Say we have the sentence, "We'll keep

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this secret between you and me."

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Our prepositional phrase in this example is "between you and me"...

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...and "you" and "me" are object pronouns.

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We would never say, "We'll keep this secret between you and I"...

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...because "I" is a subject pronoun.

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Or say we have the sentence, "Bill was so angry he threw the lamp at her."

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Here, "at her" is our prepositional phrase...

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...and we use "her" because it's an object pronoun.

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We would never say, "Bill was so angry he threw the lamp at she"...

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...because "she" is a subject pronoun. There may be a lot of rules about subject

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and object pronouns...

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...but the most important thing to remember is that some pronouns only work as subjects...

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...while other pronouns only work as objects...

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...and never the twain shall meet.