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Which of the following sentences uses the correct pronoun forms and why?

My parents met in Havana -- him an artist and her a singer.

My parents met in Havana -- he an artist and she a singer.

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    The latter. Don't ask me why, that's just what my native speaking ears expect. – Dan Bron Jul 22 '16 at 18:26
  • Thanks @DanBron. That's also what I feel but am hoping to get a more definitive answer. – Ellen Spertus Jul 22 '16 at 18:33
  • We don't say "Him is an artist.". We say "He is an artist". I think this question is a duplicate. Let me try to find it. – user140086 Jul 22 '16 at 19:00
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    The adjunct is a verbless clause. The choice of case for the subject of an adjunct is a matter of style: the nominative "he"/"she" being the formal variant, accusative "him"/"her" the informal. The clause, although verbless, nevertheless contains a predicative element (cf. "He is/him being an artist and "She is/her being a singer".) – BillJ Jul 22 '16 at 19:20
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The adjunct is a verbless clause. The choice of case for the subject of such an adjunct is a matter of style: in your example, the nominative "he"/"she" being the formal variant, accusative "him"/"her" the informal.

The clause, although verbless, nevertheless contains a predicative element (cf. "He is/him being an artist and "She is/her being a singer".)

  • You're right about "he an artist" and the analogy of "he is an artist," but you're not right about the "him being an artist." When we convert to a gerund we either say "he being an artist" or "his being an artist"--that is we either use the subject pronoun or the possessive pronoun, not the object pronoun. Well, some may use the object pronoun, but it's grammatically incorrect. – Benjamin Harman Jul 23 '16 at 2:12
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    @BenjaminHarman Please don't call something "grammatically incorrect" which is perfectly well-formed and utterly unremarkable to many native speakers. Non-finite verb clauses are happy to take oblique pronouns as their subjects. To pretend otherwise is as silly as forbidding about split infinitives. – tchrist Jul 23 '16 at 2:24
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    @Benjamin Harman I wouldn't go along with that. When a non-finite clause is in adjunct function, as it is in the OP's example, genitive subjects are not permitted at all: the choice is between nominative or accusative, cf. "She sought advice from Ed, [he / him being the most experienced of her colleagues]", but not *"She sought advice from Ed, [his being the most experienced of her colleagues]". The genitive case would be quite wrong there, just as it would be in *"My parents met in Havana - his being an artist ..." – BillJ Jul 23 '16 at 7:20

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