Subjective/Objective Complements - strong arguments needed

Status
Not open for further replies.

Nightmare85

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
German
Home Country
Germany
Current Location
Germany
Hello guys,
I've been learning that rule for a while.
However, I must notice that plenty of persons ignore subjective/objective completions.

Some examples:
I wish I were he.
He is not I.
But did your friend officially admit that it was he?
In all these sentences the marked words are not objects.

Some other examples:
I wish I were he although I don't like him.
You must defeat him.
I love her.
In all these sentences the marked words are objects.

Now I have three important questions.
1. Is my statement true?
2. In case it's true, why do plenty of persons confuse objects with completitions?
3. How can I convince somebody of that rule?

My guesses:
1. Yes, it's correct (at least I hope it :-D)
2. Because it sounds weird?
3. When a form of be belongs to the word (I, me, he, him etc.), it's not an object.

The problem is I really don't know which form to use.
If I use sentences like the three (he, I, he), some guys will think I can't speak English.
If I only use objects, I have a bad feeling.
I don't care what the majority uses, I want to use correct grammar.

In German there is a trick.
Example:
I wish I were he. -> 'Wie wer oder was wäre ich gern?
I love her. -> 'Wen oder was liebe ich?'
(Sorry for using German, but I have no clue how to use that trick in English.)
I wish I were he. -> Who do I wish I were? - whom cannot be used :?:
I love her -> Who(m) do I love? - whom can be used :?:

Support please!

Cheers!
 

corum

Banned
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Hungarian
Home Country
Hungary
Current Location
Hungary
Re: Subjective/Objective Completion - strong arguments needed

Hello guys,
I've been learning that rule for a while.
However, I must notice that plenty of persons ignore subjective/objective completions.

Some examples:
I wish I were he.
He is not I.
But did your friend officially admit that it was he?
In all these sentences the marked words are not objects.

Some other examples:
I wish I were he although I don't like him.
You must defeat him.
I love her.
In all these sentences the marked words are objects.

Now I have three important questions.
1. Is my statement true?

Ich muss darüber nachdenken. ;-) Ja, das ist mit sicherheit richtig. Aber ich habe leider keine ahnung warum akkusativ ist favorisiert.

2. In case it's true, why do plenty of persons confuse objects with completitions?



Several relatively common usages of objective pronouns in the subject position are regarded as errors by prescriptivists, though descriptive grammarians and linguists 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. In some instances, language that complies with these rules sounds odd or archaic to a native speaker, whereas language that violates them sounds fluent and normal. -- WIKIPEDIA

3. How can I convince somebody of that rule?

Show him a double biceps! :lol:

My guesses:
1. Yes, it's correct (at least I hope it )
2. Because it sounds weird?
3. When a form of be belongs to the word (I, me, he, him etc.), it's not an object.

The problem is I really don't know which form to use.
If I use sentences like the three (he, I, he), some guys will think I can't speak English.

Then go on to explain them that noun phrases in subject and subject complement slots are historically assigned nominative case, and it is so even if there is high tolerance in colloquial speech towards violating this rule. Why tolerate? Well, I am not a psychologist.


If I only use objects, I have a bad feeling.
I don't care what the majority uses, I want to use correct grammar.

That is the ticket, son! Do what you think is right. Have the courage of your own convictions!
In German there is a trick.
Example:
I wish I were he. -> 'Wie wer oder was wäre ich gern? :up: Ich verstehe dir.
I love her. -> 'Wen oder was liebe ich?'

Germans respect the prescription regarding the nominative-accusative dichotomy more.
(Sorry for using German, but I have no clue how to use that trick in English.)
I wish I were he. -> Who do I wish I were? - whom cannot be used :tick:
I love her -> Who(m) do I love? - whom can:tick: be used

You are starting to think like a real linguist. You are trying to support your argument on universalist grounds, that is, you invoke your knowledge in other languages. Smart! :up: I must compliment you! You have come a long way since I first noticed you on the fora. More power to your elbow!
 
Last edited:

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
Re: Subjective/Objective Completion - strong arguments needed


1. Is my statement true?
Yes
2. In case it's true, why do plenty of persons confuse objects with completitions (complements?)?
I don't think it's a case of confusion. It's English usage. The majority of English speakers use what are traditionally object pronouns for subject complements.

3. How can I convince somebody of that rule?
It's quite simple. Most people would recognise a subject pronoun if you pointed it out. But I suspect you're more interested in changing the way English people speak so that it's more in line with your understanding of grammar. That won't be as easy.

The problem is I really don't know which form to use.
If I use sentences like the three (he, I, he), some guys will think I can't speak English.
If I only use objects, I have a bad feeling.
I don't care what the majority uses, I want to use correct grammar.


Have you considered the notion that what the majority uses is the correct grammar?
If you want to use language consistent with 19th century traditional English grammar, you should say "That's he", etc. (You might even consider using the 'thou, thee, thy' forms as well, since it's only by usage that they have been replaced.)

But here's some comfort - if you do find yourself saying "It's me", you are far less likely to be accused of not being able to speak English than if you come out with "It's I".
 

Nightmare85

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
German
Home Country
Germany
Current Location
Germany
Thanks :up:

@Raymott:
Good to know that my guess is right.
Yes, "it's I" sounds strange, but I think it only sounds strange because we almost never hear it.

@corum:
Ich verstehe dich.
Ich danke dir.
:)
I wish I were he. -> 'Wer oder was wäre ich gern?'
(I think my 'Wie wer oder was' sounded unnatural ;-))

By the way, good video :up:
16. I? Me? He? Him? Pronoun Case Video

Cheers!
 

bertietheblue

Senior Member
Joined
May 21, 2010
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Re: Subjective/Objective Completion - strong arguments needed

Have you considered the notion that what the majority uses is the correct grammar?
If you want to use language consistent with 19th century traditional English grammar, you should say "That's he", etc. (You might even consider using the 'thou, thee, thy' forms as well, since it's only by usage that they have been replaced.)

But here's some comfort - if you do find yourself saying "It's me", you are far less likely to be accused of not being able to speak English than if you come out with "It's I".

Hear! Hear!:up:
 

bertietheblue

Senior Member
Joined
May 21, 2010
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
I disagree. This is an excellent example of a guy who needs to get out more. :)

That could be said about me right now! I'm supposed to be renovating my house but I've been addicted to this site since I joined on Friday - it's like porn for proofreaders! :-D:-(
 

Nightmare85

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
German
Home Country
Germany
Current Location
Germany
By the way, I was thinking about this:

A guy asks you this question:
Who are you?
You simply answer with:
Well, I am I. :tick:
(Dumb answer, but still an answer :))
I doubt you would say:
Well, I am me. :cross:

Therefore you could use that logic for any other examples:
I am not he.
He is not I.
You are not I.

He is he.

People simply don't talk like he.
This is an interesting sentence, but it's correct!
I talk better than he (does).
I don't talk like he (does).

You say he needs to get out more, but you will always hear bad grammar.
(And this does not only apply to the English language.)
Some grammar mistakes will always take control over languages, sad but true :-o

Cheers!
 

corum

Banned
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Hungarian
Home Country
Hungary
Current Location
Hungary
I am not he.
He is not I.
You are not I.

He is he.

People simply don't talk like he.
This is an interesting sentence, but it's correct!


The word 'like' is an interesting topic when we examine prepositions. We do not have a clear-cut case with it. In certain circumstances, it behaves like a central preposition (takes an accusative pronoun, etc), in other circumstances it is adjective-like (accepting premodification: it is more like...), and yet at other times it looks like a conjunction: He can write like she used too write (widely criticized but common in informal register).

People simply do not talk like him. :tick:
People simply do not talk like he. :cross: -- according to Quirk, it is generally considered unacceptable


Now you compare these:

1. I am not he.
2. I do not talk like him.

You can't draw an analogy between the case assignments of the two pronouns because the two sentences has completely different structures. Your logic does not apply.

In #1, the pronoun occupies the subject complement slot. This slot is assigned nominative case.
In #2, 'him' follows a preposition-like word: accusative case.
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
By the way, I was thinking about this:

A guy asks you this question:
Who are you?
You simply answer with:
Well, I am I. :tick: No
(Dumb answer, but still an answer :))
I doubt you would say:
Well, I am me.
Actually this is not an unusual sentence in colloquial English.
"Stop trying to make me something I'm not! I'm not you or him or her. I'm just me!"

People simply don't talk like he.
This is an interesting sentence, but it's correct!
I know. It's called irony.

You say he needs to get out more, but you will always hear bad grammar.
If he got out more rather than spending his Friday and Saturday nights polishing his grammar, he'd know how real people speak; and these are the people who make
grammar. I'm not talking about uneducated yobs. I mean intelligent, educated people such as you and me.
Thou hast yet to explain thy use of the new-fangled personal pronouns, which methinks has risen from the untutored classes and infiltrated our tongue, with no more authority than that Tom the Crier has fallen into its use. It's something I'd fain discuss with thee.
 

Nightmare85

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
German
Home Country
Germany
Current Location
Germany
1. I am not he.
2. I do not talk like him.
Let's ignore the not in order to let it look easier:
1. I am not he. -> Who am I?
2. I do not talk like he (does). Who do I talk like?
3. I do not like him. -> Who/Whom do I like?
 

Nightmare85

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
German
Home Country
Germany
Current Location
Germany
Dear Raymott,
Look what I found:
Even popular American TV shows use such constructions.
I agree that it could sound strange, but I think it's only because we almost never hear such things.
YouTube - I,not Me1.avi (11 seconds)
YouTube - I,not Me2.avi (18 seconds)

:)

Cheers!
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
Dear Raymott,
Look what I found:
Even popular American TV shows use such constructions.
I agree that it could sound strange, but I think it's only because we almost never hear such things.
YouTube - I,not Me1.avi (11 seconds)
YouTube - I,not Me2.avi (18 seconds)

:)

Cheers!
It doesn't sound at all strange when Mr Burns says "It is I" in a theatrical manner. Nor is it strange when Apu says "It is I who rang you", he being a non-native speaker (perhaps) and all.
I don't need convincing that "It is I" is correct, and used by some people in some situations.
I really have no answer to an argumentum ab Simpsons - except perhaps to find an example of Homer, or even Lisa, saying "It's me"; but you can do that as easily as I.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top