Archive for December, 2013

Subject vs. Object Pronouns

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

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A pronoun allows the writer to make a reference to something without using the name each time. Pronouns replace one or more nouns in a sentence. For example, instead of using the nouns Amy, the bookcase, apples, or my friends and I, you could use the pronouns she, it, they, and we. Using one word too many times can make a sentence or paragraph awkward.

Subject pronouns and object pronouns are two main types of pronouns.

There are two ways subject pronouns can be used. First, when a pronoun is the subject of a sentence, a subject pronoun is used.

Example: She read the book.

She is the subject pronoun and also the subject of the sentence.

In this case, I, you, he, she, it, we, and they can all be subject pronouns.

Second, subject pronouns occur after to be verbs to rename the subject.

Example: The caller was she.

The subject pronoun she comes after the to be verb was and replaces the noun caller. Caller is the subject of the sentence, and it is renamed to the pronoun she.

Subject verbs in this form can be difficult because spoken English is often not grammatically correct when it comes to this form. Keep the correct subject pronouns in mind (I, you, he, she, it, we, and they) and resist substituting them with words like me, him, her, and them.

Another type of pronoun is the object pronoun. An object pronoun is used when the pronoun is the direct object, the indirect object, or the object of the preposition. Object pronouns include the pronouns it, her, him, me, you, us, and them.

When the pronoun is the direct object, the pronoun is directly receiving the action of the verb.

Example: Mary kicked it.

Kicked is the verb and it is the object pronoun. It is receiving Mary’s kick so it is receiving the action of the verb.

The indirect object of a sentence tells us where the direct object is going. The answer to the following questions will give you the indirect object: “To whom?” or “For whom?”

Example: John gave her flowers.

Identify the indirect object by asking, “To whom did John give the flowers?” John gave the flowers to her, so her is the indirect object pronoun. Then determine who or what is receiving the action. Flowers is being given and is the direct object.

An object pronoun is also used in a prepositional phrase. Prepositions are words such as at, to, of, by, off, in, but, before, between, behind, about, without. Some examples of prepositional phrases are at home, for the car, and after several minutes. An example of a sentence in which the object of the prepositional phrase is a pronoun is: Ben went home without her. The prepositional phrase is without her. Without is the preposition, and the pronoun her is the object of the preposition.