Rhetoric and Composition/Use of the correct pronoun case

Be sure to use the correct pronoun case in your writing. Decide whether the pronoun you want to use serves the function of a subject or object in the sentence.

Subject Pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they, who, whoever

Object Pronouns: me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them, whom, whomever

Often, the confusion occurs when there is more than one noun or pronoun in your sentence.

Example: The boy was in a bad mood all day because early that morning his mother and him were arguing.

Who was arguing? Since the boy was, the subject pronoun he must be used.

Example: My husband and me love to go shopping for new clothes.

You wouldn't say "Me love to go shopping" so the subject pronoun I must be used.

Example: The sarcastic professor seemed to be criticizing my friend John and I. You wouldn't say the professor was criticizing I -- the object pronoun me must be used.

The major problem with pronoun case occurs with the use of who and whom. But if you follow the rules above, you won't make a mistake. Just figure out whether the pronoun is being used as a subject or object in the sentence. [Tip: If you can substitute he or she, use who. If you can substitute him or her, use whom.]

Example: The winner of the contest will be the person who guesses the number of jelly beans in the jar.

The subject of the verb "guesses" must be a subject pronoun.

Example: You are the person whom I love the most in all the world.

The person you love is the object of your love -- "I love him" -- so the object pronoun whom must be used.

[Tip: If you can delete the pronoun without changing the meaning, as in the sentence above, then the correct pronoun is the object pronoun whom. It makes just as much sense to say, "You are the person I love the most in all the world."]