Pronouns that are used to refer to persons or things are called personal pronouns. Personal pronouns have three cases, or forms, called nominative, objective and possessive. The case of a personal pronoun depends upon the pronoun’s function in a sentence (whether it is a subject, a complement, or an object of a preposition). Case Singular Plural Function Nominative I, you, she, he, it We, you, they Subject or predicate nominative Objective Me, you, her, him, it Us, you, them Direct object, indirect object, or object of a prep. Possessive My, mine, your, yours, her, hers, his, its Our, ours, your, yours, their, theirs Replacement for possessive noun(s) Use these rules to avoid errors with the case of personal pronouns. 1. Use the nominative case for a personal pronoun in a compound subject: Paul and I play the guitar. She and I sing duets. 2. Use the objective case for a personal pronoun in a compound object. Al’s sister visited Al and her. This is between you and me. Hint: In a sentence with a compound subject or object, try saying the sentence aloud without the conjunction and the other subject or object. 3. Use the nominative case of a personal pronoun after a form of the linking a verb be. The best guitar player is he. The best singer is she. 4. Be careful not to spell possessive pronouns with apostrophes. This sheet music is hers. The instruments are theirs. It’s is a contraction for it is. Do not confuse it with the possessive pronoun its. 5. Use possessive pronouns before gerunds (verb forms with –ing that act as nouns). Your dancing bothers me. He was not pleased with my singing. Use the nominative case for a pronoun that is in apposition to a subject or a predicate nominative. The judges, she and Mrs. Chiu, will have a difficult task.[judges is the subject] The winners were the pianists, Linda and he. [pianists is the predicate nominative. Use the objective case for a pronoun that is in apposition to a direct object, indirect object, or an object of the preposition. The audience cheered their favorite performers, Darnell and her. [performers is the direct object] The director gave the stage crew, Lee and him, special thanks. [stage crew is the indirect object] The judges explained the rules to both groups, them and us. [groups is the object of the preposition “to.”] Who is a nominative pronoun; therefore, who is used for subjects. Who won the game? Tell me who is in your class. Use the objective pronoun whom for the direct or indirect objects or objects of the preposition. Whom are you introducing first? [whom is the direct object] Whom did you say Maria invited to the party? Theodore Roosevelt is a president about whom I have read quite a bit. An easy method to use for identifying the correct usage for who and whom is simply substitution. Use him or them as a substitute. For example: Carol wondered (who, whom) she should ask for directions. Now, make the substitution. She should ask him for directions. Lily had to figure out (who, whom) sent her the surprise package. Now, you make the substitution. He sent her the surprise package? Him sent her the surprise package? An antecedent is the word or group of words to which a pronoun refers or that a pronoun replaces. All pronouns must agree with their antecedents in number, gender and person. Examples: Helen Keller did not let her disability prevent her from getting a college degree. Helen and Robert overcame many obstacles in their lives. Tom loves to ride his motorcycle. The horse broke its own record for speed.