The words I and me are two different cases of the same pronoun—the first-person singular pronoun. He and him are two cases of the same pronoun, and so are she and her. When pronouns are used alone, native speakers of English rarely make mistakes with them, but when they are used in combination with a noun, mistakes are common. These are called mistakes in pronoun case. Here’s an illustration:

(a) She is a frisky little child. (correct)

(b) Christopher and her are frisky little children. (incorrect)

In (a), the word she is obviously correct; she is the right pronoun to use in the subject position. But in (b), the word her is used as a subject, along with the word Christopher. No native speaker would write, “Her is a frisky little child,” but many native speakers would make the error that is represented in sentence (b).

It’s the act of pairing a pronoun with a noun that seems to make writers occasionally lose their bearings. To avoid errors in pronoun case, all you have to do is watch for the pairings and mentally omit the noun. Then see what pronoun sounds right if used alone. That’s the case of the pronoun that is also correct when used in combination with a noun.

Sometimes when you perform this test of omitting the noun, you also have to make a slight adjustment in subject-verb agreement or in the general phrasing of the sentence. For example, in (b) when you mentally omit the words Christopher and, you move from a plural subject to a singular subject, so you also have to change are to is. Then you ask yourself if it sounds right to say “Her is” or “She is.”

Exercise 6.14

Fill in each blank with the correct case of the pronoun.

1. When did you last write a letter to ___________ (he / him) and Annie?

2. Cody and ___________ (her / she) are coming to Milwaukee for a visit in the spring.

3. Why don’t you allow the Joneses and ___________ (them / they) to go ahead and file the suit?

4. My children and ___________ (I / me) really should write a book together.

5. The Blue Devils and ___________ (us / we) battled throughout the entire tournament.

6. I’d like to take a trip to Argentina with Grandma Rosie and ___________ (her / she).

7. We can’t wait until the Sethneys and ___________ (they / them) finally get here.

8. Is the box that just arrived for Robin and ___________ (I / me)?

9. Jackie and ___________ (he / him) met about a year ago at the bank where she worked.

10. The man was rather rude to my brother and ___________ (I / me).