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English Grammar


 
 

Noun & Pronoun Cases

The case of a noun or pronoun is the form it uses to relate to other words in a sentence. There are three cases.

Subject case: the form that nouns or pronouns take when they act as subjects.

I threw the ball. You love asparagus. It fell off the cliff. Ernie loves his cat.

Object case: the form that nouns or pronouns take when they are objects of verbs or prepositions.

—The ball hit me. Does asparagus make you sick? A rock landed on it. The cat loves Ernie.

  • Direct object: a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that receives the action of a verb. The direct object can be found by asking “Who or what was affected by the verb’s action?”

    —I gave the book to my cousin. I gave it to the boss.

  • Indirect object: a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase indirectly affected by the action of a verb. The indirect object can be found by asking “To or for whom or what was the verb’s action carried out?”

    —I gave my cousin the book. I handed him my application.

  • Prepositional object: a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that ends a phrase begun by a preposition.

    —I gave the book to my cousin. To whom should I submit my application?

Possessive case: the form that nouns or pronouns take when they act as adjectives.

—The ball is mine. Eat your asparagus. Its motor is now broken. That is Ernie’s cat.