A Lesson by Barbara Tennyson

There are two kinds of pronouns. Each has its place and function.



Pronouns are why we don't need to keep repeating a character's name. However, they do have certain limits.

Subject pronouns. These tell us who is doing what:

Who is tossing the ball? Margaret is. She is a good pitcher.

Other subject pronouns are I, you, he, it, we and they. These are always ACTORS; they are paired with a verb.

Object pronouns:

What did Margret toss?

Margret tossed the ball: Margaret tossed it.

Here we have something that is tossed. This is the OBJECT. It is what Margret did something to. Since Margaret acted directly on the ball, the ball is the DIRECT OBJECT.

To whom did Margaret toss it?

Margaret tossed it to Jim.

Here Jim is the INDIRECT OBJECT. All he did was have the ball thrown at him. He may have caught it, but that's another sentence.

Margaret tossed the ball to him.

Object pronouns are me, you, her, him, it, us and them.

In some instances, too many pronouns lead to confusion.

He tossed him to him.

Martin tossed the baby to Jim.

The vampire tossed Jim to his father.

Both of the last two sentences is clearer than the first. Use names or other identifiers in case of confusion.

And for some writers, 'me' is a problem. For some reason, 'me' is considered low class or rude or ungrammatical or something. It is especially misused with joined with another character's name or another pronoun. Writers who have no problem writing:

Margaret invited HIM to the party,


Margaret invited ME to the party,

get flustered and can't write:

Margaret invited him and me to her party.

which is what they should write.

(And incidentally, who goes first in a pair of object pronouns doesn't matter at all:

Margaret invited me and him to her party

is also correct.)

Just don't say: Margaret invited I to her party. That's wrong.

If necessary, take the sentence apart and write about each character separately. When you get the I/Me problem straight, join the parts back together.

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Added on May 1, 2015
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Barbara Tennyson
Barbara Tennyson

If Urban Fantasy is fantasy set in a modern city, I write Urban Fantasy. I know some definitions of UF are more involved, but I don't necessarily meet those limitations. Still, I write what I write,..