A pronoun is a word that can function by itself as a noun phrase.

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What’s the rule for using “who” and “whom” correctly?

I can never figure out whether I should use who and whom. Most people use who for both colloquially, but that’s not correct. What’s the rule for using who and whom correctly?
74
votes
9answers
4k views

When to use “that” and when to use “which”?

When is it appropriate to use that as opposed to which?
20
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5answers
63k views

“My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends”

I've always been taught to put myself last when referring to myself in the same sentence as others but the usage of "me and..." seems to be everywhere these days. The misuse of the word "me" instead ...
19
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6answers
12k views

“Who wants ice-cream?” — Should I say “(not) I” or “(not) me”?

With the enthusiastic question of "Who wants ice-cream?", what is the more correct response? (Not) I. (Not) me. Neither response is a sentence. The first response of "(not) I" sounds ...
14
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7answers
45k views

Which is correct, “you and I” or “you and me”?

When the phrase is used as an object, why so many native speakers are saying "you and I" instead of "you and me"? I'm not a native speaker but I thought "you and me" is correct. Not sure if this falls ...
34
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7answers
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Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Anyone who loves the English language should have a copy of this book in their bookcase. or should it be: Anyone who loves the English language should ...
34
votes
14answers
7k views

I can run faster than _____. (1) him (2) he?

Consider the sentence "I can run faster than 15 miles per hour." Its meaning is clear and to my eyes obviously grammatically correct. Now let me present some variations that have given me trouble for ...
27
votes
7answers
17k views

How do you handle “that that”? The double “that” problem

Have you ever had a case where you felt compelled to include strange things like a double that in a sentence? If so, then what did you do to resolve this? For me, I never knew whether it was ...
6
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4answers
12k views

How to use “who” vs. “that”

I often get confused when trying to use who vs that. Some examples that often confuse me: That The person that went to the store. The people that went shopping. The persons that went ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Inversion in “only [adverb] have they”

I have seen this construction quite often: Online ads have been around since the dawn of the Web, but only in recent years have they become the rapturous life dream of Silicon Valley. What ...
11
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6answers
2k views

“None” as plural indefinite pronoun

In my grammar book (English Grammar, HarperCollins Publishers), I read that none is occasionally treated as plural, but it is usually regarded as singular. Can you give me an example of sentence where ...
12
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6answers
17k views

When is it correct to use “yourself” and “myself” (versus “you” and “me”)?

I'm confused by why people use the following: It's up to yourself. Rather than: It's up to you. Another example of this would be: Please feel free to contact ourselves if you have any ...
56
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2answers
13k views

Why should the first person pronoun 'I' always be capitalized?

Why should we capitalize first person pronoun 'I' even if it does not appear in the beginning of a sentence? Why it is not the case for other pronouns?
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4answers
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Can “whose” refer to an inanimate object?

We lit a fire whose fuel was old timber wood. Is the word whose referring to fire, an inanimate object, correct in this sentence? Or is there a more appropriate word?
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votes
10answers
7k views

What does “it” refer to in “it's raining”?

I wanted to leave the question title as is so as not to take away from my amusement :). Anyway, It's raining. What is raining? Is it the sky? The clouds? The weather? The rain? What is "it"? ...
4
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4answers
9k views

'Which', 'whose' or something else?

I would appreciate your help phrasing the following: I am looking for elements which/whose/... size/sizes is/are relatively large.
13
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7answers
13k views

Which one is correct to say: “It's me” or “It's I”?

I was taught at school that the following expression is not grammatically correct: Who is there? It's me. The correct one is: Who is there? It's I. Can you let me know which one is ...
21
votes
6answers
42k views

Which is correct, “neither is” or “neither are”?

Bob: "Can I set the font color? Can I customize the text?" Frank: "Neither of these options is available. Sorry!" Is "neither is" always correct or should one use "neither are" in some cases and ...
10
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4answers
7k views

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

Which is the correct usage of the third person, plural pronoun? It is they who lied. It is them who lied.
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3answers
3k views

Style Question: Use of “we” vs. “I” vs. passive voice in a dissertation

As I'm not a native speaker and just finishing my dissertation in Computer Science, I wonder what style I should be using. In German (my native tongue) most dissertations, school-books and scientific ...
243
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6answers
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Did English ever have a formal version of “you”?

From the top of my head, Danish "De" (practically never used), German "Sie", Chinese "您", French "vous", Spanish "usted" are a formal way of addressing someone, especially if one isn't familiar with ...
16
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3answers
20k views

Which is correct: “This is her” or “This is she”?

Upon answering the telephone, the person calling asks if Joan is available. If Joan is the person who answered the phone, should she say "This is her" or "This is she"?
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3answers
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Why doesn't “its” have an apostrophe?

I know that its is the possessive and it's is the contraction, and know when to use them. But why doesn't the possessive have an apostrophe? "The bear's eating a fish." [contraction] "The bear's ...
26
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8answers
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Is there a subtle difference between “somebody” and “someone”, “anybody” and “anyone”?

Are there any subtle differences between "somebody" and "someone", or can they be used completely interchangeably? Similarly, can you imagine a situation in which you would prefer "anybody" to ...
8
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3answers
18k views

Should you use “who” or “that” when talking about multiple people doing something?

Which of the following is correct? There were 10 people that went to the store. There were 10 people who went to the store. Edit: Which of the following is correct? There were 10 ...
14
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2answers
586 views

Ellipsis that results in one word serving as both subject and object

Quoting from Jeff Atwood's blog: [I expanded the team] by adding Kevin, who I didn't know, but had built amazing stuff for us without even being asked to, from Texas. And again by adding ...
6
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3answers
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Reason for the current trend to use «she» as the gender-neutral pronoun?

There are some questions on gender-neutral pronouns both here and on Writers. User Christine Letts writes: In academia, there is currently a movement toward using the feminine pronoun at all ...
2
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1answer
531 views

Referring to some attribute of an inanimate object — use “who's”?

This came up in describing an input to a function: A handle to the daemon who's name is desired. (Daemon is a type of process on a system.) Somehow, "who's" just doesn't seem right because it's ...
10
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5answers
9k views

What's the difference between “these” and “those”?

First of all, I'm not a native English speaker, but in school I learned that these is used if referring to something near, and those is used when referring to something far away (temporally or ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

“Me and my wife” or “my wife and me”

Which is correct: me and my wife or my wife and me? The sentence in which this is used is Ms. Smith informed me and my wife that she was afraid of being accosted.
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it appropriate to refer to a person of unknown sex by “it”?

I would like to treat a user as a non-gender noun and refer to it with the gender-neutral pronoun, it. E.g., The user defines two variables, x and y. It then multiplies each variable by a prime ...
8
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5answers
576 views

Why does legal English sometimes repeat the antecedent noun after “which”?

Here's a standard English sentence: The folder which is missing from the principal's office contained the answers to today's exam. (Separate question, discussed elsewhere I'm sure, whether it ...
6
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1answer
942 views

Why do we say “of mine/of his” instead of “of me/of him”?

He's a friend of mine. That's a car of his. Why do we use the possessive when the meaning would be the same while not using it (e.g. a friend of me and a car of him)? I thought maybe it is ...
14
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6answers
4k views

Sentence Construction: “Just Because … Does Not Mean”

I've already found an entry on this here. However, it does not solve my problem: I just read an entry on "cross platform" from Wikipedia, in which it wrote: Just because a particular operating ...
14
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4answers
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Referring to objects as “she”

Sometimes people are referring to mechanical objects as "she": I love my car. She always gets the best service. Are there any rules when it is appropriate to use "she" instead of it, and is "he" ...
10
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5answers
3k views

Open for “anyone”? Or open for “everyone”?

Is the tournament open for "anyone" or "everyone"?
14
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3answers
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Is “everyone” singular or plural?

Which is correct? Everyone were convinced that he would go to the game. Everyone was convinced that he would go to the game. I think it's "was", because "everyone" is singular, but I just ...
12
votes
3answers
995 views

How are pronouns resolved?

Are pronouns in English resolved syntactically or semantically? Do they always refer to the closest matching noun? A wikipedia article has these examples: We gave the bananas to the monkeys ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is using “he” for a gender-neutral third-person correct?

I know there are different opinions on this issue. My question: Is using "he" for a general, gender-neutral third person still in common use for formal writing? By common use I mean, can I expect my ...
5
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3answers
3k views

“All our X” vs. “all of our X”

Is the word "of" optional in this instance? Is either of these considered preferable to the other? Taste all our delicious treats. Taste all of our delicious treats.
3
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2answers
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Is “either you or [third-person]” followed by a singular verb or a plural verb?

Or, put in examples: which of the following is grammatically correct? Either you or your sister is going to have to do the chores. Either you or your sister are going to have to do the ...
4
votes
0answers
393 views

What is the possessive form of “what”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'Which', 'whose' or something else? First of all, I'm not a native speaker so I can't rely on my intuition in this specific case. For a very long time I ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Is naming the first person last proper grammar or just proper manners? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends” I cringe when someone does not follow the rule of naming the first person last: Who went to the ...
2
votes
1answer
828 views

Usage of “whose” not referring to a person [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Referring to some attribute of an inanimate object — use “who's”? I noticed the use of "whose" in the following sentence I wrote does not refer to a ...
2
votes
1answer
824 views

Can “who” as a relative pronoun sometimes be omitted?

Somebody once observed two things: people often omit the relative pronoun "who" or "whom" to avoid having to worry about which is grammatically correct however, in all cases where it can be omitted, ...
1
vote
0answers
181 views

Possessive “that's” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'Which', 'whose' or something else? Is the use of "that's" correct in the sentence below? Imagine a frame with two sets of strings stretched across, ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Why do we use the object instead of the subject pronoun in constructions like “stupid me”?

I'm trying to find out how come we say lucky me and stupid us rather than lucky I and stupid we. My understanding is that this is not a recent invention, but a relic from the distant past where it was ...
6
votes
3answers
39k views

With who vs. With whom

Is this correct? The person with whom I'm doing the project should be here soon. If it is, is "with" always a dative preposition? (like "mit" in German)
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2answers
155 views

How did the practice of identifying an object after using a pronoun evolve?

While watching Barclay's Premier League matches on the Fox Soccer Channel, the announcers often identify an object by name immediately after using a pronoun. For example, in a match occuring right ...
3
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4answers
885 views

“Which” or “what”

Much of (what/which) scientists know about dinosaurs has been recently discovered. The phenomenon of (what/which) are known as corporate networks has also attracted attention. And yes, the ...