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What Is the Nominative Case? (with Examples)

What Is the Nominative Case? (with Examples)

The nominative case is the case used for a noun or pronoun which is the subject of a verb. For example (nominative case shaded):
  • Mark eats cakes.
  • (The noun Mark is the subject of the verb eats. Mark is in the nominative case.)
  • He eats cakes.
  • (The pronoun He is the subject of the verb eats. He is in the nominative case.)
  • They eat cakes.
  • (The pronoun They is the subject of the verb eats. They is in the nominative case.)
The nominative case is also used for a subject complement. For example:
  • Mark is a businessman.
  • (Here, Mark is in the nominative case because it's the subject of is, and businessman is in the nominative case because it's a subject complement; i.e., it renames the subject.)
  • It was I.
  • (Here, It is in the nominative case because it's the subject of was, and I is in the nominative case because it's a subject complement; i.e., it renames the subject.)
The nominative case is also known as the subjective case.

Only Pronouns Change Their Forms

In modern English, a noun does not change its form in any of the cases (other than the possessive case). For example:
  • The woman saw the cat.
  • (Here, woman is in the nominative case because it's the subject of saw.)
  • The cat saw the woman.
  • (This time, woman is in the objective case, but there has been no change in spelling.)
A pronoun, however, does change its form depending on case. The nominative pronouns (or subjective pronouns as they're better known) are I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who, and whoever. Look at this example:
  • I saw the cat. The cat saw me.
  • (I is the subject of the verb saw. It is a subjective pronoun. However, it changes to me when it is not in the nominative case; i.e., when it's not the subject of a verb or a subject complement.)

Nominative Pronouns

Here is a list of nominative pronouns and objective pronouns:

Nominative PronounObjective PronounComment
Ime 
youyouThere is no change.
hehim 
sheher 
ititThere is no change.
weus 
theythem 
whowhom Read more on who & whom.
whoeverwhomever 
Interactive Test