A little grammar pedantry for you this week.
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.
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)
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.