Posted by: episystechpubs | June 22, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Objective and Subjective Pronouns

Good morning, my friends.

A few people have asked me about this, and I’ve heard a lot of people get this wrong, so it seems like a good time to discuss which of the following sentences is correct:

· I am older than her.

· I am older than she.

Commonly, in casual speech, we hear “I am older than her.” However, if that’s the sentence you guessed is correct, you don’t get a trophy this time. The correct answer is “I am older than she.” But why?

She is correct because in the sentences above, a copular verb (that is, the verb is) has been left off the end of the sentence. (For you hard-core grammarians, a copular verb is a special kind of verb used to join an adjective or noun compliment to a subject.) The complete sentence would be “I am older than she is.”

You can see how “I am older than her is” just doesn’t work.

It’s perfectly acceptable to leave off the copular verb, as we do in English all the time, but you still need to get the pronoun right. So, to make sure that you choose the right pronoun, all you have to do is imagine the copular verb at the end:

· James is shorter than her she (is).

· At the end of the day, you are more energetic that me I (am).

· Sometimes, we are louder than them they (are).

It is my opinion that this rule will change in the not too far-off future, since so few people get it right anymore. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Language evolves or it dies. English is evolving more quickly than ever, it seems. For now, though, this rule is still on the books, so if you want to impress people with your speech or writing, it’s a good rule to know.

And in celebration of my wedding anniversary, a couple jokes for you:

“I am” is the shortest sentence in the English Language. “I do” is the longest.

People say my husband and I are fastidious couple. I’m fast and he’s hideous.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Technical Publications Writing and Editing Requests

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