English Basics: pronoun lowdown

Subject and object pronouns are weird and confusing for both learners and native English users alike, but it is especially troubling when more than one subject/object is present. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider the following sentences. Which ones are correct?

  1. She and I went to the hockey game.
  2. Her and I went to the hockey game.
  1. Dave went to the hockey game with her and me.
  2. Dave went to the hockey game with her and I.
  1. Amanda and she went to the hockey game with me.
  2. Amanda and her went to the hockey game with me.
  1. After the hockey game, she and I went to the pub with Dave.
  2. After the hockey game, her and I went to the pub with Dave.

If you said “1” to each then you would be correct. It is very common for people (especially native English speakers) to confuse subject and object pronouns, especially when dealing with one or more objects and subjects.

He/she is always used as the subject, whereas her/him is the object of the sentence.

An easy way to get it right is to read the sentence ignoring the second subject or object. In the first example, it’s common to hear people refer to “Her and I” or “Him and I” but if we remove the “I” pronoun it sounds funky:

  • Her went to the hockey game.

The correct form is “she.”

  • She went to the hockey game.

Reintroducing the “I” pronoun, we get the correct choice:

  • She and I went to the hockey game.

When using object pronouns, “I” is frequently used in place of “me.”

  • Dave went to the hockey game with her and I.

If we remove “her” the sentence sounds absurd:

  • Dave went to the hockey game with I.

The correct sentence is:

  • Dave went to the hockey game with me.

By adding the object pronoun “her” we get the correct usage:

  • Dave went to the hockey game with her and me.

That’s the lowdown, so in your next showdown, throw down your pronouns before going to the hoedown.

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