Pronoun Case

Some Tricky Situations in Correct Pronoun Case

Here are a few special pronoun usage situations, cases in which we can't always "hear" the correct way to use pronouns:

Using Pronouns After Being Verbs

Being verbs like is, was, and are can be seen as "equals" signs (_).


• The company president is he.

means the same thing as saying:

• The company president _ he.

Likewise, we should be able to reverse the parts of a sentence that appear on both sides of a being verb and not change the meaning or correctness of the sentence.


• The company president is (=) he.

can be reversed without any problems:

• He is (=) the company president.

If you mistakenly use nominative pronouns after being verbs, the sentence may sound strange


• The company president is (=) him.

This would sound strange when reversed to:

• Him is (=) the company president.

So whenever you see a being verb that is completed by a pronoun (that usually means that the pronoun comes right after the being verb), write an equals sign in front of the being verb then read the sentence parts backward.


• The keynote speaker was = her.
• Her was the keynote speaker.

If the sentence sounds right, the pronoun is correct. If it doesn't sound right, change the pronoun.


• She was the keynote speaker
• The keynote speaker was she.

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