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    • Join Date: Oct 2005
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    She/Her usage

    Need some help - which is correct?
    The newest member of the team was (her, she)
    The medical-research grant winner was (he, him)

    These pronouns are really kicking my butt! Thanks for any insight.

  1. SweetMommaSue's Avatar
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    Re: She/Her usage

    Hello jennybro and WELCOME to the forums!

    You sure picked a dandy topic! The correct use of pronouns is important, and at times very confusing. At first glance, this is how I analyzed the sentences:

    1. The newest member of the team was (her, she).

    The verb "was" is a linking verb that is connecting the girl/woman to the subject, "member". Therefore we are dealing with a predicate nominative, in this case a pronoun. The nominative case of the pronoun is she. So, the answer looks like this:
    => The newest member of the team was she.
    Invert it and it still makes sense: She was the newest member of the team. Actually, to my ears, it sounds much better this way!

    2. The medical-research grant winner was (he, him).

    Once again, there is the linking verb "was" connecting the guy to the subject, "winner". It's a predicate nominative: he.
    => The medical-research grant winner was he.

    List of Linking Verbs:
    to be to become to grow to turn to prove
    to look to feel to sound to smell to taste
    to appear to remain to keep to stay

    You can tell the function of a verb, whether it's linking or describing an action, by putting what follows the verb next to/in front of the subject. If it makes sense, then the verb is a linking verb. If not, then the verb is an action verb.
    1. My mother's cakes look gorgeous. (gorgeous cakes= linking verb)
    My mother looks at me lovingly. (lovingly mother = action verb)
    (You cannot have a lovingly mother = lovingly is an adverb)

    2. My mother feels old. (old mother = linking verb)
    My mother felt my arm to see if it were broken. (my arm mother = action verb)

    Linking verbs use the nominative case. So, that is why I put all of this here! I sincerely hope this helps you to be able to decode future similar sentences.

    Best of luck to you!


    • Join Date: Oct 2005
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    Re: She/Her usage

    Thank you so much for your help. I thought those were the correct answers, but I didn't know how to back them up. After reading your explanation, it all makes sense.

    Thanks again,


  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    Re: She/Her usage

    Welcome, Jenny.

    SMS, that was beautiful.

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    Re: She/Her usage

    I've read somewhere: It was him, who ..... I don't remeber the end of the sentence. Is this correct?


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    Re: She/Her usage

    Hello Lazybear ...
    first of all I would like to thank sweetmomasue for his\her expanation .
    concerning the last question
    I've read somewhere: It was him, who ...

    It's better not to say ' it was him '
    The pronoun coming after the verb to be must be in the nominative case ,
    and not in the objective in written compostion . However ,the objective case
    is now usually used in conversation as you wrote ' It was him . It's me ' It was her


  3. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    Re: She/Her usage


    Prescriptive grammarians would say that [1], [2], and [3] below as incorrect, though descriptive grammarians class such usages as dialect and a natural part of language evolution. (Various dialects of English often disregard subjective/objective pronoun distinctions in certain cases.)

    [1] She is taller than me.
    [2] The winner was me.
    [3] It was him, who . . .

    Following a copular with an objective pronoun, as in example [2] and [3], is traditionally considered incorrect. The reason being, the subject and the object are the same, so they should share the same case (i.e., The winner was I / It was he, who . . .), but to some ears it sounds artificial and awkward. Language is ever evolving.

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