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subjective case

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subjective case

Two pronouns in the subjective (or nominative) case

Definition:

The case of a pronoun when it functions as one of the following:

The subjective (or nominative) forms of English pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who and whoever. (Note that you and it have the same forms in the objective case.)

The subjective case is also known as the nominative case.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
    (Edward R. Murrow)


  • "I heard a scream and I didn't know if it was me who screamed or not--if it was I who screamed."
    (Olivia de Haviland in The Snake Pit, 1948)


  • "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"
    (movie title, 1969)


  • "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause."
    (Theodore Roosevelt, speech at the Sorbonne, April 23, 1910)


  • "USAGE NOTE: In conversation, you may sometimes use objective case forms of pronouns when formal written grammar requires subjective case forms. For example, in responding to a question such as 'Are you Carmela Shiu?' you might answer, 'Yes, that's me,' rather than 'Yes, that's I.' Me sounds more natural because that form of the pronoun is used more often in speech. However, I is grammatically correct in this instance."
    (Robert DiYanni and Pat C. Hoy II, The Scribner Handbook for Writers, 3rd ed., Allyn and Bacon, 2001)


  • "My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."
    (Mark Twain)


  • "I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car."
    (Steven Wright)


  • St. Peter was standing at the Pearly Gates watching an assistant check in new arrivals. The assistant had a roster and was calling out names as the spirits lined up.

    "James Robertson," he read off, and a fellow said, "I'm him." Then he read "William Bumgarner," and another fellow said, "That's me." Then he read, "Gladys Humphreys," and a woman answered, "I am she."

    St. Peter leaned over and whispered to his assistant, "Another damn schoolteacher."
    (Loyal Jones and Billy Edd Wheeler, Curing the Cross-Eyed Mule: Appalachian Mountain Humor. August House, 1989)


  • "There is no distinction between the nominative [subjective] and objective form of it, nor of you (though historically the nominative form was ye, as in the archaic expression Hear ye, hear ye)."
    (Laurel J. Brinton, The Structure of Modern English: A Linguistic Introduction. John Benjamins, 2000)
Pronunciation: sub-JEK-tiv
Also Known As: nominative case
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