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Which is grammatically correct: “Let he who…” or “Let him who…”

Should the pronoun be "him" because it's the object (gave it to him), or should it be "he" because it is subject of the subordinate clause "he who came closest."

Also, what is "who came first" described as, grammatically?

I should know, but I don't, and it bugs me.


1 Answer 1


The correct pronoun is him, because it is first and foremost the indirect object of the main clause (I gave it to him), and should therefore be in the accusative.

It's actually not the case that him is the subject of the relative clause (who came first). The subject of that clause is who.

  • According to Google Books, let he who is without has actually overtaken let him who is without now. Contrariwise, me and him has eclipsed I and he. These pronouns seem quite fluid at the moment. Mar 27, 2012 at 3:22
  • I wonder what the deal is with without - let he who is significantly less popular than let him who.
    – Daniel
    Mar 27, 2012 at 3:25
  • It's also largely confined to he - no recent rise in popularity for her or them that I can see. Mar 27, 2012 at 3:35
  • I think 'let he' has a more dramatic and formal feel to it, like old or biblical english. It doesn't sound correct by today's grammar though.
    – hrishioa
    Mar 27, 2012 at 7:03
  • 1
    I am not a native speaker, but let he sounds really wrong to me. You do not say let he go, but let him go, don't you?
    – Giorgio
    Mar 27, 2012 at 7:31

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