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|English I EOC Assessment||Parts of Speech|
|Grammar & Punctuation||Grammar|
In grammar, pronouns like "they" and "them" can be used to stand in for nouns.
However, some pronouns only work as subjects, while other pronouns only work as objects.
In a sentence, a subject performs an action...
...while the action in a sentence happens to an object.
Trying to make an object pronoun the subject of a sentence or a subject pronoun the object
of a sentence...
...is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
Let's look at some examples of pronoun placement gone terribly awry. Say we have the sentence,
"Him went to the grocery store to stock up on candy canes."
"Him" is an object pronoun. It can't be the subject of our sentence. So, let's
change things up a bit.
"He went to the grocery store to stock up on candy canes."
"He" is a subject pronoun, so it fits perfectly into our example.
Here's another sentence: "Them took they cow tipping."
Looks like someone got their pronouns switched. It might have been that poor, startled cow.
As "them" is an object pronoun and "they" is a subject pronoun, this sentence should
read, "They took them cow tipping." From our examples, we know that subject pronouns
are completely different from object pronouns.
Subject pronouns include the words "I", "he", "she", "they", and "we".
Object pronouns include the words "me", "him", "her", "them", and "us".
However, there's one word that can serve as either a subject pronoun or an object pronoun...
...the word "you". Say we have the sentence, "You went for
a swim in the very cold ocean."
Here, the word "you" is a subject pronoun.
But what if we have this sentence? "Brad forced you to swim in the very cold ocean."
This time, the "you" is an object pronoun. The other amazing thing about the word "you"
is that it can be singular...
...as we saw in our two previous examples...
...or plural. What does this mean? "You" can stand in for one person...
...or many people. Say a tour guide is leading her group of twenty
tourists around Pamplona, and she tells them, "Watch out! You don't want to get run
over by a bull!"
In this example, the "you" isn't just a subject pronoun...
...it's a plural subject pronoun.
Say our tour guide is driving her horde through Barcelona, and she tells them, "Now I'll
show you the part of town where the pickpockets live."
In this example, the "you" isn't just an object pronoun...
...it's a plural object pronoun. We've been over the basics of subject and
object pronouns, but what happens when we have more than one person as the subject or
object of a sentence?
What happens... is that people get confused and switch their pronouns around.
Say we have the sentence, "Lisa and me ate an entire gallon of chocolate chip cookie
dough ice cream."
"Me" doesn't belong as a subject of this sentence; it's an object pronoun.
Instead, our sentence should read, "Lisa and I ate an entire gallon of chocolate chip
cookie dough ice cream."
The grammar in our example is now correct...
...even if the decision to pack away so many calories wasn't.
Or say we have the sentence, "Grandma gave she and Tom ugly sweaters for their birthdays."
"She" is a subject pronoun; it doesn't belong as an object of this sentence.
Our sentence should read, "Grandma gave her and Tom ugly sweaters for their birthdays."
Yay, correct grammar! Boo, poor gift choice! Just because a sentence has two people as
subjects or two people as objects...doesn't mean we should get so turned around that we
mix up our pronouns.
To keep poor grammar at bay, just remember this tip...
...when faced with a sentence with multiple subjects or objects, narrow the subjects or
objects down to one...
...in order to select the correct subject pronoun or object pronoun.
For example, say we have the sentence, "John and I-slash-me went to the rave last night."
If John's presence scrambles the brain, just kick him out of the sentence for a moment.
This leaves us with, "I-slash-me went to the rave last night."
"I" is a subject pronoun, so that's the pronoun we want in this sentence, instead
of the object pronoun "me".
So, the sentence in its entirety should read, "John and I went to the rave last night."
There's one last thing we need to know about subject and object pronouns...
...whenever a pronoun is part of a prepositional phrase, we always use an object pronoun...
...never a subject pronoun.
Just to review, prepositions normally describe relationships or show possession...
...and some examples of prepositions include the words "between", "above", "including",
and "over". Say we have the sentence, "We'll keep
this secret between you and me."
Our prepositional phrase in this example is "between you and me"...
...and "you" and "me" are object pronouns.
We would never say, "We'll keep this secret between you and I"...
...because "I" is a subject pronoun.
Or say we have the sentence, "Bill was so angry he threw the lamp at her."
Here, "at her" is our prepositional phrase...
...and we use "her" because it's an object pronoun.
We would never say, "Bill was so angry he threw the lamp at she"...
...because "she" is a subject pronoun. There may be a lot of rules about subject
and object pronouns...
...but the most important thing to remember is that some pronouns only work as subjects...
...while other pronouns only work as objects...
...and never the twain shall meet.