Writing Multiple-Choice Questions
Pronoun Case
If you’ve ever struggled with German, Latin, or Russian, you know how nasty case can be. Case inflections display the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. Case in nouns and pronouns is a little bit like tense in verbs, because both case and tense can cause words to change form. English has cases, too, but thanks to the “Frenchification” of English, the language has lost many of its Germanic case inflections.
But not all. Pronouns can get quite complicated—there are six classes of pronouns—so let’s keep things simple and SAT-related:
Singular Personal Pronouns
Person Subjective Case Objective Case Possessive Case
First I me my, mine
Second you you your, yours
Third he, she, it him, her, it his, her, hers, its
Plural Personal Pronouns
Person Subjective Case Objective Case Possessive Case
First we us our, ours
Second you you your, yours
Third they them their, theirs
The subjective case is used when a pronoun is the subject of a sentence:

I loved Helen.

The subject of this sentence, or the person who is performing or acting the verb loved, is I; the object of I’s affection is Helen.
The objective case is used when a pronoun is the object of a sentence:

Helen loved me.

The possessive case is used to show ownership (i.e., possession), regardless of where it appears in the sentence:

Possessive subject: My face launched a thousand ships.

Possessive object: He looked into my eyes.

So far, so good. However, things can get dicey when the sentences get more complex:

My husband is searching for Paris and I.

You and me need to get out of Sparta as quickly as possible.

Quick, Helen, grab me sword!

Each sentence is incorrect. How can you tell? Always ask yourself: “What’s the subject? What’s the object? What shows possession?”
In the first sentence, My husband is the subject and Paris and I is the object. So use the objective case for the first person pronoun, not the subjective case:

My husband is searching for Paris and me.

In the second sentence, You and me is the subject, so you need to use the subjective case for the first person pronoun, not the objective case:

You and I need to get out of Sparta as quickly as possible.

In the third sentence, the sword belongs to the person asking Helen to grab it for him. Possession equals possessive case:

Quick, Helen, grab my sword!

Another frequently tested feature of pronoun case—one that usually makes students’ heads explode—is the infamous who vs. whom. There is no consensus among authorities on how to use who and whom. However, our only authority is spelled S-A-T, which has taken a fairly conservative stance on this controversial issue:
Who is subjective; whom is objective. (Whose, by the way, is the possessive form.)
So:

The woman who stole my heart keeps it still.

This is correct. Who refers back to the woman, who is the subject; therefore, the subjective case is used.

The woman whom I could not keep from stealing my heart keeps it still.

This sentence is also correct, at least in SAT-land. Whom refers not to the subject, the woman, but to the object, I could not keep from stealing my heart. The following examples bring out this subtle difference:
If the question is . . . then the answer is . . . because . . .
Who causes the destruction of Troy? Helen is the woman who causes the destruction of Troy. The focus is on the identity of the woman (Helen), which is the subject of this sentence. So, use who.
We see the destruction of Troy caused by whom? Helen is the woman whom we see cause the destruction of Troy. The focus is on what we, the audience, see. We are the object, so use whom.
Generally you should use whom after a preposition:

The woman to whom I gave my heart keeps it still.

Don’t fret too much over this, as the need for who or whom is made pretty clear in a given item.
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