Objective Case in Grammar

objective case
These lines from "The Old Man," a song by Irish musician Phil Coulter, contain two pronouns in the objective (or accusative) case. (Luis Colmenero/EyeEm/Getty Images)

In English grammar, objective case is the case of a pronoun when it functions as one of the following:

The objective (or accusative) forms of English pronouns are me, us, you, him, her, it, them, whom and whomever. (Note that you and it have the same forms in the subjective case.)

The objective case is also known as the accusative case.

Examples and Observations

  • "This land is your land, this land is my land,
    From California to the New York island;
    From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters,
    This land was made for you and me."
    (Woody Guthrie, "This Land Is Your Land," 1940)
  • "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. . . ."
    (Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus," 1883)
  • "Please don't eat me. I have a wife and kids. Eat them."
    (Homer Simpson, The Simpsons)
  • "And I think both the left and the right should celebrate people who have different opinions, and disagree with them, and argue with them, and differ with them, but don't just try to shut them up."
    (Roger Ebert)
  • "The listeners decide whether they like us, believe us, trust us, and perceive whether we are secure in ourselves and confident in what we are saying."
    (Kevin Daley and Laura Daley-Caravella, Talk Your Way to the Top, 2004)
  • "I can't live
    With or without you."
    (U2, "With or Without You." The Joshua Tree, 1987)
  • "She rushed across the room at him, thick legs pumping, knees flexing, elbows chopping back and forth in the stale sickroom air like pistons."
    (Stephen King, Misery, 1987)
  • "Cousin Matthew talked with his wife for a time about what had happened to him and to her during his absence."
    (Sarah Orne Jewett, "Lady Ferry")
  • "To survive in this world, we hold close to us those people on whom we depend. We trust in them our hopes, our fears."
    (Mohinder Suresh, Heroes, 2008)
  • "The man for whom time stretches out painfully is one waiting in vain, disappointed at not finding tomorrow already continuing yesterday."
    (Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life. Translation published by New Left Books, 1974)
  • "The strongest influences in my life and my work are always whomever I love. Whomever I love and am with most of the time, or whomever I remember most vividly. I think that's true of everyone, don't you?"
    (Tennessee Williams, interview with Joanne Stang. The New York Times, March 28, 1965)
  • Correction
    "Mr. Cameron’s first visit to Washington as prime minister was meant as a way for he and Mr. Obama to tackle a series of issues vital to the two countries, in particular the war in Afghanistan and steps toward a global economic recovery.

    As many readers were quick to point out, this should be 'for him and Mr. Obama to tackle.' (The 'subject' of an infinitive in a construction like this is actually in the objective, or accusative, case: 'I want him to go,' not 'I want he to go.')"
    (Philip B. Corbett, "Everything Old Is Hip Again." The New York Times, Sep. 7, 2010)
  • A Handful of Pronouns
    "In Present-day English the contrast between nominative [subjective] and accusative [objective] is found with only a handful of pronouns. At earlier stages of the language the contrast applied to the whole class of nouns but the inflectional distinction has been lost except for these few pronouns."
    (Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  • The LIghter Side of the Objective Case: The Death of Me
    - "I have been planning a piece on personal pronouns and the death of the accusative. Nobody says, 'I gave it to they,' but 'me' is almost dead, and I have heard its dying screams from Bermuda to Columbus: 'He gave it to Janey and I.'"
    (James Thurber, letter to literary critic Lewis Gannett. Selected Letters of James Thurber, ed. by Helen Thurber and Edward Weeks. Little, Brown, 1981)

    - "Cheers,” she said as I left, “and don't forget you're seeing Matt and I on Monday."

    I thought for a moment she'd said "matineye," an East End pronunciation of "matinee." Was I meant to review it?

    Then I remembered Matt was the production editor.

    "Me won't forget," me muttered as me went downstairs.
    (Sebastian Faulks, Engleby. Doubleday, 2007)

    - "'Excuse me,' he said, 'but is any of you gentlemen named'—he stared at the envelope—'Gervase Fen?'

    "'Me,' said Fen ungrammatically."
    (Edmund Crispin [Bruce Montgomery], Holy Disorders, 1945)

    Pronunciation: ob-JEK-tiv case