Why Halsey is right to sing “I” (but not “him”): subject complements

A little grammar pedantry for you this week.

I am his, and he is mine
In the end, it’s him and I, him and I

Sticklers who’ve listened to G-Eazy and Halsey’s Him and I will flinch at the mismatched pronouns. Him and I can’t go together, just as he and her, or them and she can’t.

Subject and object pronouns

Subject complements

As English is governed by the subject-verb-object sentence structure, it’s tempting to think Halsey should sing In the end it’s him and me.

However, there’s a group of verbs called linking verbs. The word following these verbs can be the same subject as the original, called a subject complement. Those linking verbs are:

  • be (am, is, are, will be, was, were)
  • become
  • seem

and sometimes ones like appear, feel, sound, look and grow.

Grammar Bytes! tells us that if we can substitute an equals sign in place of the verb, the following word is a subject complement, so if it’s a pronoun we use the subject pronoun.

It = I sent the email

It is I who sent the email 

This = she who designed our poster

This is she who designed our poster

Another way of looking at it is the word following the linking verb does not complete a statement. It describes the subject again, or complements it.

Therefore if Halsey wanted to be a complete grammar pedant, she could sing: In the end, it’s he and I, and still rhyme!

Have a look at my Punctuation and Grammar Masterclass course for more grammar nonsense.

2 thoughts on “Why Halsey is right to sing “I” (but not “him”): subject complements”

  1. Hahaha! Honestly, I cannot even listen to this song because of the use of “Him and I”, and the nominative pronoun used with the objective pronoun. It would have been just as “G-eazy” (sorry, I couldn’t resist) for her to say, “In the end, it’s him and me.”

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