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When using the construction "all of us" as a subject in a sentence, the pronoun stays an object pronoun, as such:

All of us are in the same boat.

The alternate construction just sounds weird (to my ears, at least), even though it "follows" the subject-verb agreement:

All of we are in the same boat.

and in order to make sense, would have to be rephrased like this:

We are all in the same boat.

Why is this? I know "all of us" is the correct version of the two above, but everything people say about subject-verb agreement would seem to imply otherwise.

closed as off-topic by tchrist, Chenmunka, choster, Centaurus, Ellie Kesselman Nov 5 '14 at 2:17

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The pronoun stays the object pronoun because it is the object — as telegraphed by the "of" in the most obvious manner.

You cannot say "all of we" for the exact same reason you can't say "expect of we", or "the book of he", or "get this off of I". "Of" is never used with the nominative case, in fact it is a case marker for not nominative, and indeed one of just a couple case markers English still has left.

The subject of the sentence is not "us", it's the entire phrase "all of us", the head word in that phrase being "all". This is not to say that anything prevents an objective pronoun from being the subject, and indeed quite the opposite is true because accusative pronouns are the unmarked form.

  • I see, so it goes deeper than just "subject" and "object". Hopefully this will be useful to other people. – Joe Z. Nov 3 '14 at 2:21
  • @JoeZ. No, it does not go any deeper than subject and object. What you are misunderstanding is that grammar is defined in terms of constituents, not individual words. A subject is not a word; it is a constituent. In the sentence “Nothing you told me about all those crazy nights we traded secrets exists”, the verb is the very last word, exists, and the subject is everything else in the sentence leading up to it. – tchrist Nov 3 '14 at 3:41
  • Right, that makes sense. – Joe Z. Nov 3 '14 at 3:44

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