Woe Is I: Pronouns and Case 61 Quoth the Maven When you have a pronoun combined with a noun (such as we employees, us employees ), try the sen- tence without the noun. You can usually "hear" which pronoun sounds right. It is always a pleasure for we to have a day-long meeting. It is always a pleasure for us to have a day-long meeting. Doesn't that second choice just sound better? (Don't answer that!) 4. 5. You can tell a word is an indirect object if you can insert to or for before it without changing the meaning. For example: The Internet gave (to) my sister and (to) me some interesting ideas. A pronoun used in apposition with a noun is in the same case as the noun. An appositive is a noun or pronoun placed after another noun or pronoun to identify, explain, or rename it. Question: Two bond traders, Alice and (she, her) were given bonuses large enough to buy their own banana republic. Answer: The pronoun must be in the nominative case (she) because it is in apposition with the noun bond traders, which is in the nominative case. Therefore, the sentence should read: "Two bond traders, Alice and she, were given bonuses large enough to buy their own banana republic." Use the possessive case to show ownership. Question: The manager refused to acknowledge that the memo was (her's, hers). Answer: Hers is the correct spelling of the possessive case, which is needed her to express ownership (belonging to her). Therefore, the sentence should read: "The manager refused to acknowledge that the memo was hers. " Be careful not to confuse possessive pronouns and contractions. To help you remember the difference, carve this chart into your desk at work. Possessive Pronouns its (belonging to it) your (belonging to you) their (belonging to them) whose (belonging to whom) Contractions it's (it is) you're (you are) they're (they are) who's (who is) 6. Question: The boss disapproves of (me, my) leaving the office early. Answer: The meaning of the sentence requires the possessive case: my. Therefore, the sentence should read: "The boss disapproves of my leaving the office early." Use the subjective case after linking verbs . Remember that a linking verb connects a subject to a word that renames it. This one actually makes perfect sense: Because a pronoun coming after a linking verb renames the subject, the pronoun must be in the subjective (nominative) case. Quoth the Maven