Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    joenuts's Avatar
    joenuts is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Tagalog
      • Home Country:
      • Philippines
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    44
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Was it they/them...

    Was it they/them the news referred to?
    Is the pronoun here the object of the preposition to or the subject of the clause Was it ______ ?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,263
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Was it they/them...

    I'd use 'them'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,554
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Was it they/them...

    I think this is one of those difficult cases where some people say one is correct, other people say the other is correct. And they both have good reason.

    Those who say "they" is correct would say that "they" is the complement of the verb "to be" -- but also that the complement in English is in the subjective form. If someone asks, for example, "Who is it?" they would reply "It is I."

    However, many people now say that the complement of "to be" in English should be the objective form. In fact, most people do say "It's me", although some say it's not actually correct, it's slang; while others say that this is perfectly correct, and "It is I" is actually wrong. If you agree with those who say that "It is me" is correct, then you don't have to worry whether "they/them" in your sentence is the complement of "to be" or the object of "to" -- in either case, it's "them".

    Confused? Well, so are a lot of native speakers and students alike.

    The best solution, I think, is to find a different way to say the same thing. For example: "Were they the ones referred to on the news?"

  4. #4
    joenuts's Avatar
    joenuts is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Tagalog
      • Home Country:
      • Philippines
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    44
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Was it they/them...

    Thanks. By the way, I would hardly use that sentence. It's from a book.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •