Sometimes to Deconstruct Is the Best Way!
Last week, a neighbor of mine announce that he was getting to go to lunch with another friend of his. “Bill (not his real name) said he’d take Barbara and I to lunch,” he said with almost uncontrollable excitement.
I bit my tongue as I counted to ten, trying to stifle the urge to blurt out the error in his speech. Maybe my neighbor can read minds, or he saw the look in my eyes, because he, knowing that I’m a stickler about grammar, quickly corrected himself.
In English, pronouns can take on one of three cases: The subject case, the object case and the possessive case. The latter two cases are referred to as the oblique cases.
Why can’t people remember that when you use a transitive verb, one which requires both a subject and one or more objects, you must use the object case?!?
You wouldn’t say, “His and They are taking the kids to the pool,” would you? It wouldn’t make sense!
I offer an easy rule to determine into which case to put the pronoun(s). Take the sentence, “Aunt Sally and Uncle Dave will take their nephews and neices to the park with Mike.”
Aunt Sally and Who? will take Whom? to the park with Whom? Let’s break it down, shall we?
- You wouldn’t say “Aunt Sally and him took…” You’d say “Aunt Sally and he took…”
- You wouldn’t say “took they to the…” You’d say “took them…”
- You wouldn’t say “to the park with he.” You’d say “to the park with him.”
When you have pronouns as objects, as in the case, “with him and me,” if you’re concerned that it might be “with him and I” or “with he and I,” remove the first pronoun and say it again. You would know right off the bat that you shouldn’t say “with I,” right?
The same thing is true when you use a transitive verb. Take “hit,” for example. You wouldn’t say, “Mom, little Johnny was hitting I as I crossed the street,” would you? So why would you even consider saying, “Little Johnny was hitting Sheila and I as we crossed the street?” Remove Sheila. Take her out of the equation, and you should be able to inherently know what the correct case of the pronoun should be.
How ’bout it?