Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

What Is the Subjective Case? (with Examples)

What Is the Subjective Case? (with Examples)

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

Only Pronouns Change Their Forms

In modern English, nouns do not change their forms in any of the cases (other than the possessive case). For example:
  • The man saw the dog.
  • (Here, man is in the subjective case because it's the subject of saw.)
  • The dog saw the man.
  • (This time, man is in the objective case, but there has been no change in spelling.)
Pronouns, however, do change their forms depending on their case. The subjective pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who, and whoever. Look at this example:
  • I saw the dog. The dog 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 subjective case; i.e., when it's not the subject of a verb or a subject complement.)

Subjective Pronouns

Here is a list of subjective pronouns and objective pronouns:

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