A traditional rule governing the case of personal pronouns after forms of the verb to be
is that the nominative or subjective form (I; she; he; we; they
) must be chosen. Some 400 years ago, owing to the feeling that the postverb position in a sentence is object rather than subject territory, me
and other objective pronouns (him; her; us; them
) began to replace the subjective forms after be,
so that It is I
became It is me.
Today such constructions—It's me. That's him. It must be them.
—are almost universal in speech, the context in which they usually occur. In formal speech or edited writing, the subjective forms are used: It was I who first noticed the problem. My brother was the one who called our attention to the problem, but it wasn't he who solved it. It had been she at the window, not her husband. Me
and other objective forms have also replaced the subjective forms in speech in constructions like Me neither; Not us; Who, them?
and in comparisons after as
or than: She's no faster than him at getting the answers.
When the pronoun is the subject of a verb that is expressed, the nominative forms are used: Neither did I. She's no faster than he is at getting the answers.
See also than
When a verb form ending in -ing
functions as a noun, it is traditionally called a gerund: Walking is good exercise. She enjoys reading biographies.
Usage guides have long insisted that gerunds, being nouns, must be preceded by the possessive form of the pronouns or nouns (my; your; her; his; its; our; their; child's; author's
) rather than by the objective forms (me; you; him; her; it; us; them
): The landlord objected to my
) having guests late at night. Several readers were delighted at the author's
) taking a stand on the issue.
In standard practice, however, both objective and possessive forms appear before gerunds. Possessives are more common in formal edited writing, but the occurrence of objective forms is increasing; in informal writing and speech objective forms are more common: Many objections have been raised to the government
) allowing lumbering in national parks. “Does anyone object to me
) reading this report aloud?” the moderator asked.