+0
1) This was an example on an internet site: 'That must be him on the phone'

The site suggested that it should read, 'that must be he on the phone'

Their justification was this: the nominative form of the pronoun following the verb be

Now, I understand this; however, could the justification be equally sound if I were to say that it is the nominative (subjective) case because the pronoun is the subject of the sentence, so it should be HE?

However, this raises another problem for me. When there is a preposition, the pronoun is meant to be in the objective case. Is this only true when the preposition PRECEEDS the pronoun? Because in this case, ON follows the pronoun, so I wasn't sure if the rule applied.

2) Could you please tell me the rules for the usage of were and was? For example, in line 4 of this writing piece is it 'if I were to say...' or 'if I was to say... ' WHY?

3) Finally, in academic prose one is not to use the word that too often, if at all. Once again in line 4, the word that is used here. It sounds correct to use that rather than which. Should I use which to be more formal, even though it sounds weird?

Thanks a lot for your answers and time!!!
1 2
Comments  
Eddie88 1) This was an example on an internet site: 'That must be him on the phone'

The site suggested that it should read, 'that must be he on the phone' Correct. But I'm the only person I know personally who says it that way.

Their justification was this: the nominative form of the pronoun following the verb be Right ! I am I, Don Quixote! The first "I" is the subject of the sentence, the second is the predicate nominative, following the "to be" verb.

Now, I understand this; however, could the justification be equally sound if I were to say that it is the nominative (subjective) case because the pronoun is the subject of the sentence, so it should be HE? Absolutely true! But that principle does not apply in any way to your first example. It must be a different sentence. He is he, Don Quixote. (Sorry, that's a little too cute. let's say, "He is on the phone.")
Perhaps you mean to say that "He" is the subject of the real sentence, or he is the person performing the action in the real meaning of the sentence. I've heard these things discussed, but they have nothing to do with the syntax of the sentence. That is, they're contextual, not syntactical, or something like that.

However, this raises another problem for me. When there is a preposition, the pronoun is meant to be in the objective case. Is this only true when the preposition PRECEEDS the pronoun? Because in this case, ON follows the pronoun, so I wasn't sure if the rule applied. Right again! The pronoun and it's object must make up a prepositional phrase. She brought the water to us. The ground was shaking under him. She was walking beside me. "She" (nominative) is subject of the sentence. "Me" (objective) is object of the preposition. He is on the phone. The object of the preposition "on" is "phone," certainly not "he."
Edit. Oh yes, sorry I forgot Winston Churchill's famous exception, This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.

2) Could you please tell me the rules for the usage of were and was? For example, in line 4 of this writing piece is it 'if I were to say...' or 'if I was to say... ' WHY?
"Were" (first person singular) is the correct use of the subjunctive mood in certain "if" sentences, but few people (like me) use it anymore. Simple past ("was") is considered acceptable. Do a search for "subjunctive" on this site or elsewhere.

3) Finally, in academic prose one is not to use the word that too often, if at all. Once again in line 4, the word that is used here. It sounds correct to use that rather than which. Should I use which to be more formal, even though it sounds weird? Sorry, I'm not finding your example.
Sorry, I took "in line 4 of this writing piece" as a colloquialism, "in line 4 of a certain writing piece." I thought it was weird.
I have always heard in conversation - that must be him / her on the phone.

Of course we say:He is on the phone now.
Grammatically, "that must be him" it is not strictly correct, since the case of a pronoun after "be" is nominative.
However, in this case (must be xxx), we make an exception to this rule in all but very formal writing
Here is some insight from the site: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/cases.htm

In formal or academic text, we need the nominative or subject form of the pronoun after a linking verb: "It was he who represented the United Nations during the 1960s," "That must be she on the dock over there." In casual speech and writing, however, that sounds awfully stuffy. Imagine the detective who's been looking for the victim's body for days. He jimmies open the trunk of an abandoned car and exclaims, "It's she!" No self-respecting detective since Sherlock Holmes would say such a thing.
Eddie88However, this raises another problem for me. When there is a preposition, the pronoun is meant to be in the objective case. Is this only true when the preposition PRECEEDS the pronoun? Because in this case, ON follows the pronoun, so I wasn't sure if the rule applied.
The preposition always precedes its object, except when the preposition is at the end of a sentence or clause:
Example:

The man we bought the gift for is on the train now.
Example:

In the sentence, "that must be him on the phone", phone is the object of the proposition "on".
In the sentence, "The elephant sat on him.", him is the object of the proposition "on". .
Eddie882) Could you please tell me the rules for the usage of were and was? For example, in line 4 of this writing piece is it 'if I were to say...' or 'if I was to say... ' WHY?
The above is the subjunctive mood. Example:

If I were rich, I would not be living in this dump.
If I were you, I would not put any money on that nag.

Eddie883) Finally, in academic prose one is not to use the word that too often, if at all. Once again in line 4, the word that is used here. It sounds correct to use that rather than which. Should I use which to be more formal, even though it sounds weird?
"That" is an essential word in English and is used in formal and informal writing. Choosing which word to use is a tricky subject, and the link below has good guidance. It goes into the details on restrictive and non-restrictive clauses and when this rule is likely to be violated.
  • Restrictive clauses are introduced by that and are not separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.
  • Non-restrictive clauses are introduced by which and must be separated by commas from the rest of the sentence to indicate parenthesis.
http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/which.htm
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Great, thanks a lot!

I was wondering when you said, 'right again! the pronoun and it's object must make up...'

In America (assuming this is where you are based) do they use apostrophes to show possession of these pronouns? (it's object). Where I am from, we omit the apostrophe to avoid the confusion with the contraction, 'it is.'

Secondly, I don't quite understand what you mean to my answer to the following question above:
Now, I understand this; however, could the justification be equally sound if I were to say that it is the nominative (subjective) case because the pronoun is the subject of the sentence, so it should be HE?

What I am saying is that 'that must be he on the plane' isn't he the subject of the sentence? In this case it means that it is correct to have he not him... But now that I re-ask the question, I am beginning to realise that he/him would not be the subject of the sentence...'that' would be the subject...correct? And he/him is the object of the sentence. But in this case it is the nominative case because the pronoun follows the 'be verb'. Am I on track here?

Everything else was clear and superb, thanks!!

Eddie88I was wondering when you said, 'right again! the pronoun and it's object must make up...'

In America (assuming this is where you are based) do they use apostrophes to show possession of these pronouns? (it's object). Where I am from, we omit the apostrophe to avoid the confusion with the contraction, 'it is.'
The it's is not correct, even in American English.
It's = = it is.
its = = possessive case of it.
Eddie88What I am saying is that 'that must be he on the plane' isn't he the subject of the sentence?
He is in the predicate nominative case. However, in casual speech following "must be" we break the grammatical rule and use the objective case. .
Hi, Eddie, thanks for catching my "it's." I make that error about 60% of the time and catch it on re-read about 90% of the time.

I think A. Stars answered you well on "That is he." There are two issues: the grammar issue, and the usage issue.

Re the grammar, there are various transformations possible, but to keep it simple, the subject usually comes first, followed by the verb. Here's a compound sentence: Cogito ergo sum - I think, therefore I am. "I think" is an action verb. "I am" is a being verb. It just means "I exist." But the being verb (simple predicate) is more often followed by a predicate nominative OR a predicate adjective. I am an actor. That is I (in the picture). That was I (on the phone). (Do you know who the guy is who/that broke my window?) I am he. Both the subject and the complement are nominative, but most people use an objective case complement, "That was me." Most people would even say, "It was me who broke your window." (Predicate adjectives would be, "I am drunk;" "I am late.")
What I started out to say when I wandered, is that in your example, "That must be he on the plane," in terms of subjects and objects this is the same as "That is he on the plane," or "He is he on the plane." The being verb acts like an equal sign. "He is John." "He = John." But, just because "He" is the subject of the sentence and "He" = "John" doesn't mean that "John" is really the subject of the sentence, in terms of the syntax !
Personally, I get a strong sense of equality from the being verb, which is why I personally prefer to use the nominative case complement.
But to say the complement equals the subject is not the same as to say that it is the subject. The first is contextual; the second is syntactical.
Anyway, "That's him on the plane," is as correct as any other substitution of objective in place of nominative case pronouns.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Eddie88When there is a preposition, the pronoun is meant to be in the objective case. Is this only true when the preposition PRECEEDS PRECEDES the pronoun?
Yes, yes, yes. The order is 'preposition + pronoun in objective case', not 'pronoun in objective case + preposition'.

We helped him up the stairs.
The pronoun him is in the objective case because of helped -- not because of up.
He threw them out the door.
The pronoun them is in the objective case because of threw -- not because of out.
They put her in the car.
The pronoun her is in the objective case because of put -- not because of in.
I assume that the examples above illustrate what you're asking about.
CJ
Yes thanks, those examples illustrate my query perfectly. And thanks for correcting my spelling mistake, woops!

1)
However, here is a post which I thought slightly contradicted your point:

The preposition always precedes its object, except when the preposition is at the end of a sentence or clause:

Example:

The man we bought the gift for is on the train now.

2)
Secondly, when a preposition preceds the pronoun, the pronoun should be in objective form. However, could the pronoun ever be the subject of the sentence, but have a preposition preceding it? What pronoun case would it take?

3)
Finally, how is the contraction isn't written in full? For example, 'this is the right book, isn't it?

Is this written like this: 'this is the right book, is it not'? So, does it and not switch order in formal academic prose? This is an elementary level question, I know!!
Eddie88here is a post which I thought slightly contradicted your point:
Yes. I thought you asked again because you were puzzled by my overly long reply the first time.
I didn't know which kinds of cases you wanted to know about -- the preposition immediately after the pronoun or the preposition after the pronoun with any number of words in between.
No words in between:
They threw him out the door. (Here him has nothing whatsoever to do with out.)
Words in between:
The man whom we bought the gift for is on the train. (Here whom goes with for because the uninverted form is for whom.)
The man [We bought the gift for him] is on the train. becomes
The man [We bought the gift for whom] is on the train. becomes
The man [whom we bought the gift for __ ] is on the train. becomes
The man whom we bought the gift for is on the train.
Only the specific word whom has this property.
Eddie88could the pronoun ever be the subject of the sentence, but have a preposition preceding it?
Never, never, never!!
Eddie88how is the contraction isn't written in full? For example, 'this is the right book, isn't it?

Is this written like this: 'this is the right book, is it not'? So, does it and not switch order in formal academic prose?
isn't = is not
However, in modern English a negation (not, n't), can only be moved to the left of the subject if it is expressed as n't. It must stay to the right of the subject if it is expressed as not.
It is. It is not. It isn't.
Is it? Is it not? Isn't it?
So you can't have forms (in modern English) such as Is not it? or Is it n't?

Same here:
It does. It does not. It doesn't.
Does it? Does it not? Doesn't it?
Not Does not it? or Does it n't?

It has nothing to do with academic prose.
CJ
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more