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I had a question about possession. I wrote the sentence:

He may need to stay for a while, therefore I’ll listen to any concerns you or him may have.”

Is it him or he? Because it sounds natural to say him.

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The way to test pronoun case in "x or y" or "x and y" constructions is to try the sentence with just x or just y:

  • "… therefore I'll listen to any concerns him may have."
  • "… therefore I'll listen to any concerns he may have."

Which pronoun sounds right to you? Use that pronoun even when naming "x or y" or "x and y."

  • Makes sense. Great! – trin carl Jan 28 '16 at 20:58
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Should be "he" - and I hope better grammarians will sound off on this - because if you dismantle the sentence into two parts, you can see which to use, thusly:

"He may need to stay for a while, therefore I'll listen to any concerns you may have."

and

"He may need to stay for a while, therefore I'll listen to any concerns he may have."

Recombine:

"...I'll listen to any concerns you or he may have."

When you're in doubt about which forms to use in cases like this, it can be helpful to break the group in parts so you can more readily identify the proper syntax. Works with verb agreement too.

Caveat: As with all English language rules, there are exceptions. Like I said, with luck a better grammarian will come to give a definitive answer. This is just what I use.

On a side note, you could say something like "...I'll listen to any concerns either of you have," or "...I'll listen to any concerns you two may have." This structure avoids the issue, if it's in keeping with the character's voice and manner of speech.

Hope that helps!

  • My pleasure! All success. :) – Josh Jan 28 '16 at 21:11
  • In dialogue, you may intentionally use "the wrong" form to display ignorance or dialect eccentricities. "I seen them there apples out yonder." – Stu W Jan 29 '16 at 13:08

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