Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Jun 7 2012   10:18AM GMT

How overcorrection leads to pronoun problems

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?

“I’ve saved the folder to Dropbox and will send the link to _________.”

a. he and Charles

b. him and Charles

c. Charles and he

d. Charles and him

Answer: b.

Explanation:

Him is the correct pronoun here, because it’s the object, not the subject. To simplify, just take Charles out of the equation. Would you ever say “I’ll send the link to he”? No, I didn’t think so.

Nevertheless, this is one mistake I hear well-educated people making very frequently. Probably the same overcorrection (AKA incorrection) that makes them use I when they should use me.

The pronoun order thing? Well, that’s just a grammar rule. Pronouns — all but I and me — precede nouns in a compound subject or object. You know — when more than one person does something or has something done to them.

@GrammarGirl Mignon Fogarty covers this one here.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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