I'm obsessed with the World Cup. Are you? I love it! I also love the Olympics, and I spent a good chunk of February sitting on my couch watching the games - so fun! I love cheering on the athletes, no matter what their nationality, and it's entertaining to hear the informed commentary that accompanies the competition.
Pronouns can be tricky!
This Olympics, however, the grammar that accompanied the commentary wasn't as stellar as the athletic feats being described. The most common infraction I heard from Sochi was the misuse of pronouns. The following are two examples that were so outrageous I actually paused the TV, rewound to listen again, then recorded them with my phone:
What was said: "It has all gone away for John Daly. Heartbreaking for HE and his family and friends."
What should have been said: "It has all gone away for John Daly. Heartbreaking for HIM and his family and friends."
Explanation: Object pronouns (him) follow prepositions (for). I doubt the commentator would have said "heartbreaking for he" if that had been the end of the sentence.
What was said: "So he's a really really great guy, and it was so fun to be with him. I saw HE and his wife here earlier, and they just were in tears over how excited they were."
What should have been said: "So he's a really really great guy, and it was so fun to be with him. I saw HIM and his wife here earlier, and they just were in tears over how excited they were."
Explanation: This case requires a direct object pronoun, which is "him." I doubt the commentator would have said "I saw he" if that were the end of the sentence.
The commentators seem to be under the impression that "he" is correct at all times. "He" is the appropriate pronoun if it's referring to the SUBJECT, but when it's referring to the OBJECT, "him" is the correct choice.
He sees me, and I see him.
Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, and Cassidy Lane. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
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