It's him who tells me that; or: It's he who tells me that (?)
It's them who tell me that; or: It's they who tell me that (?)
Last edited by justinwschang; 19-Sep-2007 at 17:44. Reason: Insert (?)
Here's a more obvious hint.
Look at "who tells me." What case is the who? Is it in the subject case or the object case? The he/him should match that case.
Last edited by Barb_D; 19-Sep-2007 at 18:10.
I don’t know anything at all about the grammar but with logic;
Who’s that?- Who is the person that (knocking the door)?- I am knocking the door ;so
Who’s that? Grammatically the short answer should be I but in daily conversation people say me.
Who’s that?- Who is the person that (knocking the door)?-He is knocking the door-
Answer should be he is.- not him
So I choose , It's he who tells me that.
The things I’ve said might be completely irrelevant, so I am sorry in advance ;)
Last edited by LwyrFirat; 20-Sep-2007 at 02:12.
(Note for students: (a) "I', "he", "they", etc = nominative (or subjective) case = used as the subject of a verb; (b) "me", "him", "them", etc = objective case = used as the object of a verb, or object of a preposition)
(A) THE PROPOSITION (Why This ?) EXPLANATION
Grammar rule: A pronoun must be used in the nominative case where it is the subject of a verb, or where IT IS IDENTIFIED (ASSOCIATED) WITH THE SUBJECT OF A FINITE VERB.
It is he who tells me that: "It" is the subject of "is"; "who" is the subject of "tells"; "who" = nominative case ("whom" = objective case); "he" is identified with "who", therefore we use "he" (nominative) and not "him" (objective).
(B) THE REBUTTAL (Why Not That?) EXPLANATION
Objection: "Who's that? It is him"; so why not also "It is him who tells me that".
Grammar rule: The verb BE [am, is, are, was, were (as finite verbs), be, being, been (as main verbs)] cannot/does not have an object; however, its meaning is complete only if read together with its complement (also called predicate word or words).
It is him: Although "him" is the objective case, it is not the object of "is", but is instead called the complement or predicate pronoun of "is".
It is he who tells me that: The underlined part is the complement or predicate words of "is"; we don't need to use "him" as the object of "is" because "is" cannot/does not take an object.
Objection: Since "is" doesn't need an object, why can't we say "Who's that? It is he".
Grammar rule: A subject must have a verb.
It is he: "It" (subject) has "is" as its verb; "he" (nominative case = subject) does not have a verb here; therefore the sentence should be "It is him". However, we will say: It is he who is here. (See next line of explanation)
It is he who tells me that: "It" (subject) has "is" as its verb; "he" (nominative case = subject), being identified with the subjective case "who", has "tells" as its verb.
Also, because "he" is singular, "tells" is (must be) singular; "who" doesn't indicate whether "tell" should be singular or plural. Therefore also: It is they who tell me that.
Last edited by justinwschang; 20-Sep-2007 at 07:49. Reason: add "be"; add additional explanation (in blue)