He or him which is correct?

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Guest:
Is "It won't be he who gets fired" or "It won't be him who gets fired" correct?

And can you give your reasons for why the correct one is correct please?
Approved answer (verified by )
Kenny wrote:
All subjects and subject complements are in the nominative case ...

JTT: This is simply not true of the English that is used today.

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CGEL:
There are a number of constructions where both cases are found. In most, the nominative is restricted to formal (or very formal) style, with the accusative appearing elsewhere. ... in response to the question, "Who's there" the nominative version "It is I" would be widely perceived as pedantic.

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This means that both, "It won't be he who is fired" and "It won't be him who is fired" are correct with the former viewed as being more formal to pedantic [depending on the situation].

Who is going to be fired? --> It won't be him.

1,640 English pages for "it won't be him".

472 English pages for "it won't be he".

{I'm not even sure how many of these 472 are justified as many of them turn out to be, "It won't be. He ..."

'whoever' and 'who' also function in both subject and object positions in the English of today.
Regular Member849
Approved answer (verified by )
Yes, but ...

1. There is virtually no formal situation in which the sentence will ever come up. Therefore it is never really necessary to make the choice of 'he' vs. 'him' in such a situation.

2. There is virtually no informal situation in which the sentence would be uttered in exactly those words. It borders on the unidiomatic.

In both written and spoken contexts, the sentence is:

He won't be the one [who gets fired / to get fired].

Any speculation on the original sentence in terms of pronoun case is just time wasted debating purely theoretical possibilities. Just because you can say such theoretically correct sentences (It won't be he ...) doesn't mean you should.

Emotion: smile
Veteran Member53,486
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If you were to phrase it prepositionally,
It was him, to whom the pinkslip was addressed, then it was him- but
It was he who laughed last, and laughed best,
because he hated his boss
ED: If you remove the and the then you have
"he gets fired"- other words: removing added information often clarifies
the subject and verb form in a sentence
Junior Member69
This is a passive structure. (Get + object + past participle)

Someone is about to be fired (by somebody) but the person who is fired (by somebody) won't be Guest.

In a passive structure our interest is in the person or thing that experiences the action, rather than in what or who performs the action. So in your sentence, we are interested in the man, not the person who is doing the firing. Effectively, the object (the man) becomes the subject of the sentence.

In the active voice, the sentence would be "Somebody fired him": because it is passive, and the person who was fired becomes the subject of the sentence, we say "He was fired"
Senior Member2,657
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"It won't be he who gets fired" is correct.

In English we have only three cases: nominative, objective, and genitive (possessive). All subjects and subject complements are in the nominative case and all objects are in the objective case. (The genetive case doesn't enter into this discussion.) We say, for example, "I go to the store" rather than "Me go to the store" because "I" is the subject of the sentence and is, consequently in the nominative case. We say, "He hit me" rather than "He hit I" because "me" is the direct object of the sentence and is in the objective case.

Nominative Case pronouns: I, he, she, we, they, who (whoever)
Objective Case pronouns: me, him, her, us, them, whom (whomever)

So, if, for example, I wonder whether to write "This is just between John and I" or "This is just between John and me," all I have to do is determine how the pronoun is used. (In this case, it is used as an object of the preposition "between," so "me" is correct.

The sentence "It won't be he who is fired" is correct because the pronoun "he" happens to be a subject complement and is, therefore, in the subjective case.

Kenny Dorham
New Member04
Bravo e mille grazzi
I believe that JTT's assertion is true largely based upon conversational and not written
English, because of the fast pace of today's lifestyles and information sharing. In
conventional terms, and that means writing and public speaking, I submit Kenny's
take is more ubiquitous, as it accommodates erudition.
Certainly, there is the tendency of which you speak, Jim, but I'm not certain it's as pronounced as you suggest.

103 English pages for "He won't be the one who".

30 English pages for "He won't be the one that".

65 English pages for "It won't be him that".

39 English pages for "It won't be him who".

36 English pages for "It won't be he who".

1 English pages for "It won't be he that" {actually it was "... it won't be he. That ... "}
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