Subjective Case

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

The subjective (or nominative) forms of English pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who and whoever.

The subjective case is also known as the nominative case.

Examples and Observations

  • Mark Twain
    My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
  • Steven Wright
    I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.
  • Edward R. Munrow
    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
  • Olivia de Haviland
    I heard a scream and I didn't know if it was me who screamed or not--if it was I who screamed.
  • Theodore Roosevelt
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause.

Subjective Case Usage Notes

  • Robert DiYanni
    In conversation, you may sometimes use objective case forms of pronouns when formal written grammar requires subjective case forms. For example, in responding to a question such as 'Are you Carmela Shiu?' you might answer, 'Yes, that's me,' rather than 'Yes, that's I.' Me sounds more natural because that form of the pronoun is used more often in speech. However, I is grammatically correct in this instance.
  • Edward D. Johnson
    If the subjective case sounds stilted, as perhaps it does in John has dated girls taller than she, enough of the elliptical clause can be supplied to make it obvious that than is functioning as a conjunction and that the subjective case is required. Usually this means simply adding a form of the verb do, be, or have. [Thus we'd write, 'John has dated girls taller than she is.']
  • Laurel J. Brinton
    There is no distinction between the nominative [subjective] and objective form of it, nor of you (though historically the nominative form was ye, as in the archaic expression Hear ye, hear ye).

The Lighter Side of the Subjective Case

  • Loyal Jones and Billy Edd Wheeler
    St. Peter was standing at the Pearly Gates watching an assistant check in new arrivals. The assistant had a roster and was calling out names as the spirits lined up."James Robertson," he read off, and a fellow said, "I'm him." Then he read "William Bumgarner," and another fellow said, "That's me." Then he read, "Gladys Humphreys," and a woman answered, "I am she." St. Peter leaned over and whispered to his assistant, "Another damn schoolteacher.

Pronunciation: sub-JEK-tiv

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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Subjective Case." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 28). Subjective Case. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Subjective Case." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).