Pronouns Made Simple

Pronouns Made Simple

You can download a free, printable handout about pronouns at this link: 

1.  Use its (no apostrophe) as a possessive word (similar to his):

Publix hopes to increase its profits this year.  CORRECT

The coat is missing one of its buttons. CORRECT

Remember that it’s (with an apostrophe) always means it is:

When the bell rings, it’s time for class. CORRECT

I’m going to buy Alice’s computer if it’s not too expensive. CORRECT

2.  Use the “thumb rule” when a name appears with a personal pronoun—I, me, she, her, he, him, we, us, they, them.

THE THUMB RULE:  Shorten the sentence so that you can hear the right pronoun. Here’s how to do it: Cover the name and the word “and” with your thumb.   Read the sentence, skipping over the words you covered up.  Use the pronoun that sounds correct.

Let Jane and (I, me) help you.
Let Jane and me help you. (cover up “Jane and”)
Let Jane and me help you. CORRECT

Yesterday Jane and (I, me) helped Greg.
Yesterday Jane and I helped Greg.  (cover up “Jane and”)
Yesterday Jane and I helped Greg.  CORRECT

3.  In comparisons, “finish the sentence” by adding an extra word:  Your ear will tell you which pronoun is correct.

Bill is older than (I, me).
Bill is older than I am. (“Finish the sentence” by adding am.)
Bill is older than I.   CORRECT

Cheryl works faster than (he, him).
Cheryl works faster than he does. (“Finish the sentence” by adding does.)
Cheryl works faster than he.  CORRECT

4 thoughts on “Pronouns Made Simple

  1. Kelly Pomeroy

    I disagree with “Bill is older than I”. It’s not good colloquial English. If it doesn’t sound natural, it’s probably a poor choice. Do you think the following exchage sounds good?: “Take out the garbage.” “Who, I?” Come ON!

    The rule that brings sane results is to forget about Indo-European declensions and say simply that the only time the nominative form is used is when it’s the subject of an
    EXPRESSED verb. (And compound subjects – or objects – take the same form as singluar ones.)

    Drll this in, and it will also do away with such nonsense as “I’ll give it to whomever wants it”.

  2. ballroomdancer Post author

    I agree 100%! My version is always “Bill is older than I am.” It’s good colloquial English, and it works whether I’m talking to a friend or speaking in front of a group as a paid consultant who’s supposed to be modeling good English usage.
    I’d also like to add that the famous “C’est moi” in French uses an objective pronoun (“me”) rather than a subjective one with a copulative verb.

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