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“It is they who lied” or “it is them who lied?”

Why does "most of..." take an object pronoun, such as them, and not they? Do all prepositional constructs do this?

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marked as duplicate by tchrist, MετάEd, Kristina Lopez, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Robusto Jan 22 '13 at 1:31

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1 Answer 1

It's because when a single pronoun follows a preposition it's in the accusative case.

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Right. In fact, they only occurs as the subject of a tensed clause; for any other use, them is the preferred form. –  John Lawler Jan 21 '13 at 20:08
@JohnLawler, even when used as a predicate nominative? I think that may be true for spoken English, but for written, it seems a little unusual. –  thang Jan 21 '13 at 20:33
It was they at the door? Naah. –  John Lawler Jan 21 '13 at 20:36
@thang. When a personal pronoun is the subject predicative of a clause it is normally accusative. For example, 'Who’s making all that noise?’ ‘I’m not sure, but I think it must be them again.’ However, it is in the nominative when it is postmodified, as in It is they who are to blame for this. –  Barrie England Jan 21 '13 at 20:53
That's a pet peeve of mine. –  Malvolio Jan 21 '13 at 22:02

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