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May 2008 - Pronoun Problems

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

May 2008

Pronoun Problems

I winced when I heard one of my best students exclaim, “Me and my friend came up with the solution ourselves!” Then I cringed as her friend added. “Yeah, if you’ve got a tough problem, just give it to her and I.”

Most problems with pronouns could be avoided following these rules:

  • Use I, you, he, she, it when acting as subjects: You and I should discuss the issue.
     
  • Use me, you, him, her, it, them when acting as objects: They asked you and me to join.
     
  • Use my, your, his, her, their, its (not it’s) when possessive: The man cut his finger. The men cut their hair. The storm ran its course.
     
  • Make a pronoun agree with its noun: A student has responsibilities to his or her professor. Students have responsibilities to their professors.
     
  • Treat anyone, no one, none, everyone, everybody, someone, somebody as singular: Everybody has his or her own opinion. Is everybody here?
     
  • Use who as subject, whom as object: The boy who is in the car is my son. You can give it to whomever you wish. The one whom I’ve been speaking of (or, the one of whom I’ve been speaking) is Jean.

Good grammar is always in vogue!

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama
jkline@klinespeak.com

December 2006 - Motivating Others: Communicate Clearly
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