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Thread: it was her who arrived first

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    it was her who arrived first

    What is correct: It was her who arrived first. It was him who arrived first.

    or: It was he who arrived first. It was she who arrived first.

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    "It was he/she who arrived first" is correct, but plenty of people say it the other way.

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    "It was her/him who did so-and-so" often sounds a bit more natural in ordinary colloquial speech. And as a short answer to the question "Who did it?" or "Who arrived first?", it's MUCH more natural to say "It was him [точка]" or "It was her [восклицательный знак]" That is, without a relative clause introduced by "who".

    If you say "Who did it?" -- "It was he!", it sounds rather pompous, and you may remind people of Bela Lugosi in the 1931 version of Dracula. (He's always parodied as speaking with hyper-correct grammar: "It is I, Count Dracula!"; though 99.99% of English speakers would say, for example, "It's me, Buffy Summers.")

    However, as zedeeyen wrote, "It was he/she who..." is the form preferred by traditional grammar, and thus it should be used in formal writing (or in highly formal speech, such as an academic lecture).

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    "It is I, Count Dracula!" ... "It's me, Buffy Summers."
    If I wrote a book, what should I say in a passive voice: "The book was written by me/myself" ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    If you say "Who did it?" -- "It was he!", it sounds rather pompous, and you may remind people of Bela Lugosi in the 1931 version of Dracula. (He's always parodied as speaking with hyper-correct grammar: "It is I, Count Dracula!"; though 99.99% of English speakers would say, for example, "It's me, Buffy Summers.")
    Just to clarify things: Bela Lugosi's use of the the pronoun in the nominative case was grammatically correct, but it is true that one may say, it wasn't colloquially correct. The situation is exactly the same as with "he" and "she" - in both cases we have a copula followed by a pronoun, in which case it is supposed to agree with the subject, which is nominative.

    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeCup View Post
    If I wrote a book, what should I say in a passive voice: "The book was written by me/myself" ?
    The reflexive pronoun is used only in conjunction with the subject. Therefore you should use "me" in the given example, as "the book" has nothing to do with "myself." If the sentence had been "I wrote the book me/myself" you should use "myself," as it is used in conjunction with the subject.
    CoffeeCup likes this.

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    спасибо, чуваки

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    Почётный участник Sergey_'s Avatar
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    In Irish English the reflexive pronouns 'myself', 'herself', 'himself' etc. can be used in a subject position.

    Himself and his wife have always been very nice to everyone.

    In other varieties of English you can sometimes find the reflexive pronoun used in subject position when it appears together with another subject - so I found these examples:

    Paul and myself went there.
    Only myself and my family were affected by this.

    (c) bbc

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    "The book was written by me" sounds more natural to me.



    Scott



    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeCup View Post
    If I wrote a book, what should I say in a passive voice: "The book was written by me/myself" ?
    CoffeeCup likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergey_ View Post
    Paul and myself went there.
    Only myself and my family were affected by this.
    Note that this usage possibly developed from English speakers trying to avoid either "I" or "me" because they're not sure which is correct!

    Young children will often use objective forms like "me", "us", "him" in a compound subject -- "Steve and me went to the playground", or "Her and Jennifer won't share their candy!" -- and then adults will correct them: "No, no, that's wrong -- you should say 'Steve and I went to the playground', and 'She and Jennifer won't share', etc."

    So the kids develop a superstitious fear of the objective forms, and when they get older, they'll say things like "Would you like to have dinner with my wife and I?" And other adults may explain to them, in a polite whisper: "You mean 'dinner with my wife and me' -- because if you were to take out the words ...my wife and..., you'd say 'dinner with me', not 'dinner with I', right?"

    And thus, having been corrected for using both "me" and "I", some people just make a habit of saying "myself" instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    And thus, having been corrected for using both "me" and "I", some people just make a habit of saying "myself" instead.
    So using 'myself' here is grammatically incorrect, but some people say it, is that right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    So using 'myself' here is grammatically incorrect, but some people say it, is that right?
    Alexms... YES. I was/am guilty of this and it wasn't until I took a course at work YEARS ago that I learned I was using "myself" incorrectly and yet, it seems so wrong to use "me."

    Grammar Girl : How to Use "Myself" and Other Reflexive Pronouns :: Quick and Dirty Tips


    How to Use Myself

    Today's topic is how to use the word myself. Grammar Girl says that how to use myself is among the top 10 or 20 questions that people send in to the show. Here's an example:

    Hi, Grammar Girl. This is Chuck Tomasi, your interim Grammar Guy from ChuckChat.com, home of podcasts too numerous to mention. I hear and see examples of the misuse of the word myself all the time. For example, an e-mail went out from HR like this, “Please contact Squiggly, Aardvark, or myself with questions.” Could you please help listeners know when the wordmyself is appropriate and when to use a more appropriate word? Thanks!

    Excellent, Chuck! Let's dissect what's wrong with that sentence: "Please contact Squiggly, Aardvark, or myself with questions." (Alex and others, that is the one that gets a lot of people in trouble and is used incorrectly ALL the time.)The simplest way to think of it is like this: How would you say the sentence without Squiggly and the aardvark? Then it usually becomes obvious! You would say, “Please contact me with questions,” not, “Please contact myself with questions.” So when you add in Squiggly and the aardvark, that doesn't change anything. It's still correct to say, “Please contact Squiggly, aardvark, or me with questions.”

    What are Reflexive Pronouns?

    Digging into the topic a little deeper, myself is what's called a reflexive pronoun. That can be hard to remember, but just think about looking into a mirror and seeing your reflection. You'd say, “I see myself in the mirror.” You see your reflection, and myself is a reflexive pronoun.

    Other reflexive pronouns include himself, herself, yourself, itself, andthemselves. A reflexive pronoun is always the object of a sentence; it can never be the subject. Grammar Girl has talked about it before, but a subject is the one doing something in a sentence, and the object is the one having something done to it. If I step on Squiggly, I am the subject and Squiggly is the object.

    You would never say, “Myself stepped on Squiggly,” so you would also never say, “Aardvark and myself stepped on Squiggly.”

    Another case where it is correct to use myself is when you are both the subject and the object of a sentence. For example, “I see myself playing marimbas,” or, “I'm going to treat myself to a mud bath.” In both of these cases you are the object of your own action, so myself is the right word to use.


    Use Reflexive Pronouns to Add Emphasis

    Reflexive pronouns can also be used to add emphasis to a sentence. (In case you care, they are then called intensive pronouns.) For example, if you had witnessed a murder, you could say, “I myself saw the madman's handiwork.” Sure, it's a tad dramatic, but it's grammatically correct. If you want to emphasize how proud you are of your new artwork, you could say, “I painted it myself.” Again, myself just adds emphasis. The meaning of the sentence doesn't change if you take out the word myself; it just has a different feeling because now it lacks the added emphasis.

    There you go! The quick and dirty tip is to think about how you would write the sentence if you were the only one in it, and then use that pronoun. For example, “Please contact me.” That's where people get most hung up using myself. And then you can also remember that it's OK to use reflexive pronouns for emphasis and when you are the object of your own action.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    So using 'myself' here is grammatically incorrect, but some people say it, is that right?
    Well... it's technically not correct, but IMHO it's "less incorrect" (т.е., не звучит настолько безграмотно) compared to Me and my friend did this or We saw she and John kissing in the park. Which is to say that many educated speakers would not even notice the error if you said, e.g., His father and himself manage the family business -- although "His father and he manage..." is the proper form.

    By the way, I would agree with the advice from "Grammar Girl" -- when you're not sure which form to use, try rephrasing the sentence to change a compound subject or object to a singular subject/object with only the pronoun: "Me did this"; "We saw she in the park"; "Himself manages the business."
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Note that this usage possibly developed from English speakers trying to avoid either "I" or "me" because they're not sure which is correct!
    In Irish English it can come from Pól agus mé féin. This féin (self) has very many meanings in Irish and can be used in various situation.

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    One could argue that the "wrong" use of myself is actually "right." It is a matter of prescriptivism versus descriptivism. While prescriptive grammars state how a language should be used, be it grammar, syntax, spelling or whatever; descriptive grammars describe the language as it is actually being used. However, in the ideal descriptive world, a grammar had to be written of the language of each and every person in the world as nobody speaks in exactly the same manner. So, naturally, only common traits shared between a certain amount of people is described. This would still lead to more writing standards than in the present relatively prescriptive world - consider the many language boards or committess or councils around the world. On the other hand, it would result in several language standards in school, more money spent on paperwork in governments and institutions, and so on, and if pure descriptivism was encouraged, every person would write in their own style creating gaps with no mutual intelligibility.

    As suggested, both practices have their pros and cons, and the debate is still very much alive today. Consider the situation of me/myself, which we have already discussed here. Why should the "wrong" usage of myself not be considered "right" when such a large amount of the population accepts it unconsciously? For instance, it is considered "right" in Irish English grammars -- because it is used so extensively.

    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Note that this usage possibly developed from English speakers trying to avoid either "I" or "me" because they're not sure which is correct!
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    In Irish English it can come from Pól agus mé féin. This féin (self) has very many meanings in Irish and can be used in various situation.
    Firstly, according to Filppula (1999): "The Grammar of Irish English," the reflexive pronouns in Irish English may be used in object position as in Standard English, and in subject position and as a prepositional complement unlike in Standard English. Also, recent research apparentlys show, that the reflexive pronouns may be used non-reflexivelly in southern dialects.

    Next, the origin of this kind of usage of myself is rather problematic, as corpus analyses have shown that such usage is not only used in Irish Gaelic and the other Goidelic languages, but has been attested in Old- and Middle English, as well as in Early Modern English, including in works of Byron and Shakespeare. Furthermore, it has also been attested in Scots English (not to be confused with Scottish Gaelic). Of the non-Goidelic languages it is most present in Irish English though, being used by all social classes, and used the most in Southwestern Ireland. Thus, it is proposed that the feature may appeared as a result of language contact between earlier stages of Irish Gaelic and English, where speakers of Irish Gaelic were able to recognise the usage of myself in non-subject positions by English speakers, although only infrequently - linguistically known as interlingual identification - and applied it to their own English, what would become Irish English. And additionally, some Irish Gaelic constructions of reflexive pronouns have left their imprints on Irish English, constructions which are not present in any other English dialect.

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    Think about it like this:

    He = он
    She = она

    him = его
    her = ее.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zxc View Post
    Think about it like this:

    He = он
    She = она

    him = его
    her = ее.
    Don't you see that's wrong?

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    Если him = его, то:

    The story was about him. = История была о ЕГО ?????

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    Но вопросы возникает из-за предложений типа Me too и It's me, где me явно соответствует именительному падежу.

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    zxc
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    Если him = его, то:

    The story was about him. = История была о ЕГО ?????
    I was thinking in the instance of nominative vs accusative. But if you want to speak broadly, if you would say Он in Russian, say he. If you would say его, ему, им, or нем, say him. Likewise with она and she. Also if you would say Кто, say who. If you would say кого, кому, кем, or ком, say whom.

    I can't think of any exceptions to this. Maybe you can help think something up.

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