0

If I were to write a book about myself, Me would be a more natural-sounding title than I. Also, we say the us-vs.-them mentality instead of the we-vs.-they mentality.

5
  • 1
    I'd call this the objective case since English doesn't really have an accusative. May 8, 2012 at 2:07
  • 1
    I believe that the Lord of the Apes wrote an autobiography: Me, Tarzan...
    – MT_Head
    May 8, 2012 at 2:12
  • 1
    Objective pronouns are the unmarked (i.e. "default") form in English. See e.g. here, here, and here. Now, what do you mean by "why"? Let me ask you right back: why not? Objective case is the default in many languages. There's no reason for it not to be. Are you asking about how this developed historically in English? Please clarify.
    – RegDwigнt
    May 8, 2012 at 9:13
  • Whoops, I didn't know it was wrong to say "accusative"; I was just referring to the pronouns me, them, us, him, etc. @RegDwightΒВBẞ8 I guess I didn't know that the objective case was the default. It just seems strange then that people always talk about the subject and the object, the nominative case and then the accusative case, to where it seems like the "main" one is the first. Also, when you say "objective" it makes it sound like it ought to be the object of a verb, whereas the "subject" form of a pronoun seems like it ought to be able to serve just that purpose, e.g. in a title. May 8, 2012 at 23:26
  • 1
    @JohnJamesSmith Many linguists use the term accusative in descriptions of English. For example, it's used in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. If you continue to say accusative rather than objective, I think no harm will come of it.
    – user28567
    Oct 7, 2013 at 17:35

1 Answer 1

1

There are a couple of ways to see this:

(a) the notion of "I" being 'nominative', "me" being 'accusative' etc is really something of a bastardisation, or at best a huge oversimplification; do you actually have any motivation for this analysis, or did you just 'hear it somewhere'?

(b) even if you were to conclude that "me" is always an 'accusative' form, who says that the accusative can't be used for "titles"/"topics"?

Or put another way: the fact of the matter is that English uses the form "me" both for the pronoun when used in 'isolation' and when it is the complement of a verb/preposition (as well as other uses). So:

Either (a) you analyse it as being accusative, and incorporate in your definition of 'accusative' this particular use.

Or (b) you analyse it as not being accusative, possibly taking this use as part of your reasoning for not doing so.

Something for you to think about: given that English nouns and adjectives don't decline (as they do in other prototypical languages with case systems), what does it really buy you to talk about 'nominative', 'accusative' etc in English?

1
  • Terminology like "nominative" and "accusative" lets us generalize about different forms of the personal pronouns. It's simpler to say something like "Pronouns take the accusative form when they are the direct object of a transitive verb" than it is to say something like "For the direct object of a transitive verb, we use the pronouns me, us, her, him, them instead of I, we, she, he, they respectively."
    – herisson
    Jun 19, 2016 at 22:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.