Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Pro Exercise: Personal Pronouns

Pro Exercise: Personal Pronouns

Since we launched Daily Writing Tips Pro, we received many emails from readers who wanted to know more about the exercises. That’s why we decided to release a couple of samples. Below you’ll find one:
In each of the following pairs of sentences, choose the one that uses the correct form of personal pronoun.
1.
a) Mom asked Jane and me to help with the groceries.
b) Mom asked Jane and I to help with the groceries.
2.
a) Joe and myself are competing for the award.
b) Joe and I are competing for the award.
3.
a) Nobody likes ice cream as much as I.
b) Nobody likes ice cream as much as me.
4.
a) Mary and she went to school together.
b) Mary and her went to school together.
5.
a) Does the sound of him snoring bother you?
b) Does the sound of his snoring bother you?

Answers and Explanations

1. 
a) Mom asked Jane and me to help with the groceries.
The pronoun is part of the object of the sentence — the part that the subject refers to. The form should be the same as if the person referred to by the pronoun were mentioned alone, rather in company with Jane (“Mom asked me to help with the groceries,” not “Mom asked I to help with the groceries”).
2. 
b) Joe and I are competing for the award.
A reflexive pronoun (one ending in -self or -selves) should be used only to refer to another pronoun, as in “The difference between us is that I wouldn’t put myself in danger like that,” where myself refers reflexively to I. The form is the same as if Joe were not part of the statement (“I am competing for the award”).
3. 
a) Nobody likes ice cream as much as I.
The final word in this sentence is a predicate nominative — a renaming in the predicate position of a noun or pronoun appearing as the subject. Because the predicate nominative renames the subject pronoun, it takes the form of a subjective pronoun (I), not an objective pronoun (me). The me version implies that the person is being compared to ice cream (“Nobody likes ice cream as much as they like me”).
4. 
a) Mary and she went to school together.
The pronoun in this sentence is part of a compound subject; it should be in the same form it would be if the reference to Mary were omitted (“She went to school,” not “Her went to school”).
5. 
b) Does the sound of his snoring bother you?
Either of these sentences is correct, but “his snoring” places the emphasis on the snoring, while “him snoring” emphasizes the person doing the snoring. The point of the sentence is the sound, not the person producing the sound, so hisis better.

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