Grammar Basics: What Is Grammar Case?

Grammar Basics: What Is Grammar Case?
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Updated on 26 March 2016

Do you enjoy team sports? Some team positions carry special responsibilities. In hockey, the goalie’s job is to block the other team from scoring. In American football, the place holder steadies the football for the field goal kicker. If you imagine language as a team sport, you can think of grammatical cases as team positions. They tell you the special roles of pronouns. Only three cases are common in modern English—subjective, objective, and possessive.

The Subjective Case

When a pronoun is the subject of a clause or sentence, it is in the subjective case. Therefore, the pronouns I, you, he, she, it, we, they, and who are subjective case pronouns.

The Objective Case

Pronouns that serve as objects of verbs or prepositions are in the objective case: me, you, him, her, it, us, them, and whom.

The Possessive Case

With nouns, you usually indicate possession by adding an apostrophe and the letter S (or just an apostrophe, in the case of most plural nouns). Pronouns demonstrate possession by using possessive case forms. There are two types of possessive pronouns. Possessive determiners (my, your, his, her, its, our, their, whose) and absolute possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his, hers, ours, and theirs).

Did you notice that some of the pronouns appear in more than one case? Just as an athlete might enjoy more than one sport, pronouns can be versatile too. It’s interesting to learn about the different ways individual members contribute to the team, and it’s cool to know the grammatical cases!

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