USE He,Him,She Her

Him and her gave it to she and he.’

Okay – we can see that’s obviously wrong, right? Understanding why that sounds wrong, to anyone with a reasonable grasp of the English language, will help reveal the obvious mistakes people make in more complicated sentences.

‘He’ and ‘she’ are subjective pronouns – that is they must be the subject of the verb in a sentence. e.g. She hit the ball. He fell down.

‘Him’ and ‘her’ must, in turn, be the object of the verb. The dog bit her. The car hit him. Remember that one rule when you are constructing more complex sentences:

It was a rainy day when she and her mother came to visit. (I must add that, as we see here, the feminine pronoun ‘her’ is also used as the possessive form, but this doesn’t appear to be a problem to most of us. I have looked at possessive pronouns in another article so will not do so here.)

I intended my gift, which I sent to Cathy, to be enjoyed by her and Matt.

She and Matt are both friends of mine.

Whenever you are unsure, simply reduce your sentence to a very basic one and test your pronoun – I intended my gift for her. She is a friend of mine.

Once she had given up on him, she was able to get on with her life on her own terms; he had been nothing but a hindrance to her.

No matter how complex your sentence, as long as you remember this simple test, you’ll be right every time.

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