The words after a preposition are said to be the
'object of the preposition'.
Object of a Preposition
The cat ran under the car.
(The words "the car" are the object of the preposition "under".)
Can you give this parcel to him tomorrow?
(The word "him" is the object of the preposition "to".)
As covered in the lesson What
a preposition usually sits before a noun (i.e., a word like
dog, man, house, Alan). However, a preposition can also sit before a pronoun
(i.e., a word like him, her, which, it, them). This is important because the object of a preposition is always in the
'objective case', and pronouns
change in this case. (In general, native English speakers have little trouble forming the objective case.)
Can you give the parcel to him?
("He" changes to "him" in the objective case.)
I went to the cinema with them.
("They" changes to "them" in the objective case.)
Who and WhomThe word 'whom' is the objective case of 'who', and this pairing causes some confusion. (This is covered more in the lesson
Who and Whom.)
Andy saw the scouts, at least one of whom was armed, through the mist.
("Whom" - objective case after the preposition "of")
Against whom did you protest if there was nobody present?
("Whom" - objective case after the preposition "against")
should be "Two hits to whom?"
(grammatically dodgy joke in
WHOM AFTER A PREPOSITION |
Many are unsure when to use who and whom. One
thing is for certain: Always use whom after a preposition.
should be "by whom?"
WHETHER AFTER A PREPOSITION
Some writers are unsure when to use 'whether' and when to use 'if'. After a preposition, only
'whether' can be used:
A decision about whether the elections were legal is pending.
Will you raise the question of whether we are investing in the
system or withdrawing?
See the lesson Whether and If.
YOU AND I / MY WIFE AND I |
Some people use 'I' in expressions like 'you and I' or 'my wife and I' when, in some instances, they should be using
It is a present from my wife and me.
("me" – objective case of "I" after the preposition "from")
It is a present from my wife and I.
(This is as wrong as saying "from I".)
Keep this between you and I.
(This is as wrong as saying "between I and the post".)
Remember, prepositions govern the objective case. Therefore, the word 'I' must change to
'me' when it is the object of a preposition (i.e., follows it). The fact that it is preceded by
'you and' or 'my wife and' is irrelevant.
In fact, you should only use 'I' in an expression like 'you and I' when it is the
subject of the verb. For example:
You and I argue on this subject on a daily basis.
("You and I" — subject of the verb 'to argue')
My husband and I accept your
("My husband and I" — subject of the verb 'to accept')
If the terms 'objective case' and 'subject of a verb' are confusing, there is a neat trick to determine whether to use the
'you and I' form or the 'you and me' form. Simply remove everything apart from the
'I' and try your sentence again. You will naturally use the correct version.
It was proposed by my husband and
I/me. Question: I or me?
Step 1: Remove "my husband and".
Step 2: Try the sentence again.
Step 3a: It was proposed by I.
Step 3b: It was proposed by me.
It was proposed by my husband and me.
It was proposed by my husband