Knock, knock! Who’s there?

I’ve said this before, but it’s probably time to say it again: “who” is well on its way to losing its case marking. That is, the objective case “whom” is fading, leaving us with “who” for both subjective and objective uses (like the pronouns “you,” “it” and “what”). In conversational speech, “whom” is already long…

3 reasons to use the singular “they”

One: We need it. Two: We use it. Three: We understand it. Explanation: We need a gender-nonspecific third-person singular pronoun to ensure inclusive writing that isn’t awkward. Generic “he” just doesn’t cut it anymore; extended use of “he/she” and “his/her” in writing is clunky; random switching between “he” and “she” is distracting at best, confusing…

To whom it may concern

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on May 7, 2012. “Who” and “whom”’ cause all sorts of problems for writers. No one seems to know when to use which one, and whether to even bother with “whom” at all. More on that in a minute. The basics: “Who” is a subject pronoun. It is the subject…

Just you and I: Subject and object pronouns

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Dec. 13, 2011. When some of us were kids, we’d get corrected if we announced to our mothers or teachers a sentence along the lines of: “Me and her are going snake-hunting in the creek.” “It’s ‘she and I,’” they’d say, apparently more concerned about proper grammar than the…

Reflexive actions

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Feb. 10, 2010 Reflexive pronouns are those that end in “-self” — myself, herself, themselves and so on. These pronouns are used when a subject and an object are the same person. Reflexive pronouns can be direct obects: Vampires can’t see themselves in a mirror. They can be indirect…