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If I have a relative clause where 'she' is the subject of the relative clause, but a possessor in the main clause, should I use 'of she' or 'of her'?

Let me give an example, would I have:

The crown of she who is upstanding is gold.

Or:

The crown of her who is upstanding is gold.

(Admittedly I wouldn't ordinarily write English like this, I would rephrase the sentence, but I'm trying to produce a literal translation.)

  • What is the original you are trying to translate? – hkBst May 24 '16 at 9:21
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It should be her, because it is the object of the preposition of.

Her is not part of the relative clause: the relative clause only includes who and what follows. The role of who in the relative clause (subject) has no bearing on anything outside the relative clause.

Antecedent (her) and relative pronoun (who) must normally agree in number, but their syntactic roles are independent of each other and may be different, as here.

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The crown of the upstanding-female is golden: "she who is upstanding" belongs together and it does not become "her who is upstanding" in any case.

Compare:

  • We must not name he who must no be named.
  • Offer it to he who must no be named.
  • 1
    While the pattern you describe is relatively commonly used and doesn't sound especially bad to native speakers, as Cerberus says, it is not standard. The standard prescribed versions of your two sentences are in fact "We must not name him who must no be named" and "Offer it to him who must not be named". – sumelic Jan 19 '17 at 23:22

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