1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Subjects vs Objects in double clause sentences

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Rumwriter, Jun 27, 2014.

    If you have two clauses joined by a pronoun that is the object of the first clause, but the subject of the second clause, do you treat the pronoun as a subject or object?

    That's confusing, so for instance:

    "I will give ten dollars to whomever/whoever mows my lawn." In this instance, "whomever" sounds better to me--an object.

    But by the same token, if I change the sentence just slightly, but with the exact same structure:

    "I will give ten dollars to him/he who mows my lawn." In this instance, "he" sounds better to me--a subject, though really nothing has changed.

    These are, of course, only examples, and there are other instances where this sort of dilemma comes up, and I'm just curious what the rule is as a whole.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's an object in both cases, in my assessment. The innate feeling you have to use he in the second example is a bit of innate confusion we all feel at having been overcorrected in the past as to the case of He/Her v. Him/She, et als. We have been trained to be suspect of overuse of the inflected object pronouns and we second guess ourselves. It's natural. We all feel it.
     
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  3. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Is that the actual rule? You always treat the linking pronoun as an object?
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The thing is, it's not a "linking pronoun". It's just the head of a noun phrase that is subordinated within a prepositional clause; in this case, the prepositional clause is the indirect object.

    I will give ten dollars ([to] him who mows my lawn).

    You wouldn't, for example say:

    I will give ten dollars to (she).
     
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  5. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    "I will give ten dollars to him who mows my lawn."

    Break the sentence down:

    "I will give ten dollars to him."
    "To whom?"
    "The person who mows my lawn."

    the last part of the sentence -- "who mows my lawn" -- is subordinate in and of itself; it modifies the pronoun that you already would have placed in the sentence regardless of whether the subordinate portion of the sentence was there. Treat "who mows my lawn" as an optional part of the sentence. You would not say "I will give ten dollars to he."
     
  6. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Technical writing terms give me a headache--because I am terrible at it. :rofl:

    But I would write it like this:

    "I will give ten dollars to the person who mows my lawn."

    Hope it helps. :agreed:
     
  7. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    But here's another example:

    You would say "It was him," not "It was he," if it were a stand alone sentence, correct?

    But you wouldn't say "It was him who mowed the lawn," you would say, "It was he who mowed the lawn," correct? Or if it were first person, "It was I who mowed the lawn," not "It was me who would the lawn."

    Or how about this: "I have more money than him," vs "I have more money than he." Although the second sounds incorrect, because most people don't use it, I believe it IS correct, because it really means "I have more money that he does."

    So in some cases we do use the subject pronoun, correct?
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    As a stand-alone, it should actually be "It was he." but this is rarely heard in common parlance. In that sentence, was is a copular verb, which is not a transitive verb; thus, it does not set up a subsequent object clause. But again, it's rare to hear anyone speak with this precision. It brings to mind the speaker mannerisms of Frasier and Miles Crane. :)

    Correct, I would not say "It was him who mowed the lawn," and this aligns with the correction I made above as to the correct inflection (or lack thereof) of the pronoun following an intransitive copular verb.

    Correct, and when they are used is dependent on the set-up of the preceding syntactic structures. In these examples you provide, the syntax set-up is quite different to what you provided in the original post. In the original post, you have object clauses clearly defined. In this newest post, there are no object clauses in play.
     
  9. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Well, thank you all so much. I'd never even heard of a copular verb before. This is fascinating, I'll be doing to homework tonight. (Also, a thousand points for the Niles and Frasier reference.)
     

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