What is the Objective Case? Definition, Examples of the Objective Pronoun Case

Objective case definition: The objective case is the form of a noun or a pronoun used as an object.

What is the Objective Case?

The objective case refers to when a noun or pronoun is used as an object. The object may be a direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition.

In English, the objective case only significantly changes personal pronouns.

Objective Case Examples:

  • Pronoun: he
  • Objective case pronoun: him
  • Sentence with objective case pronoun: I bothered him.

“Him” is acting as the direct object. The pronoun “he” takes the objective case and becomes “him.” It is poor English grammar to say, “I bothered he.”

  • Pronoun: she
  • Objective case pronoun: her
  • Sentence with objective case pronoun: I bothered her.Pronoun in the objective case

“Her” is acting as the direct object. The pronoun “she” takes the objective case and becomes “her.” It is poor English grammar to say, “I bothered she.”

  • Pronoun: he
  • Objective case pronoun: him
  • Sentence with objective case pronoun: Bratton, who promoted him over 16 senior officers to the rank of four-star chief, in 1994, and, a year later, to first deputy commissioner. –The New York Times

Similar to our first example, the author uses the objective pronoun him. It would be grammatically incorrect to say “who promoted he over 16 senior officers…”

Objective Case Pronouns

Subjective case vs objective case What is an objective case pronoun? When pronouns become objects, they must change to the objective case. In English, personal pronouns are changed slightly to reflect their use as objects.

Pronouns/Objective Case Pronouns List

  • I/me
  • you/you (singular and plural)
  • he/him
  • she/her
  • it/it
  • we/us
  • they/them

Objective case pronoun as direct object:

  • Mark called me.

Objective case pronoun as indirect object:

  • Sheila sent her a message.

Objective case pronoun as object of preposition:

  • Mary danced with him

Objective Case and Direct Objects

Objective case pronouns examples What are direct objects? A direct object receives the verb. The subject does the transitive verb to the direct object.

Direct objects may be nouns or pronouns. If they are personal pronouns, the direct object will change to the personal pronoun objective case.

Note: Direct objects only follow transitive verbs, not linking verbs.

Examples:

  • Sam filled the cup.
    • Subject: Sam
    • Transitive verb: filled
    • Direct object: the cup (noun)
  • Sam filled it.
    • Subject: Sam
    • Transitive verb: filled
    • Direct object: it (pronoun)
  • Sam loves her.
    • Subject: Sam
    • Transitive verb: loves
    • Direct object: her (personal pronoun in objective case)

Objective Case and Indirect Objects

Objective case personal pronouns What are indirect objects? An indirect object is the noun that receives the direct object. The subject does the transitive verb to the direct object and the indirect object receives the direct object.

To find an indirect object, ask who or what received the direct object.

Indirect objects may be nouns or pronouns. If they are personal pronouns, the indirect object will change to the personal pronoun objective case.

Examples:

  • He told Sarah a lie.
    • Subject: He
    • Transitive verb: told
    • Direct object: a lie
    • Indirect object: Sarah (noun)
  • Shannon sent me a message.
    • Subject: Shannon
    • Transitive verb: sent
    • Direct object: a message
    • Indirect object: me (personal pronoun in objective case)

Objective Case and Object of Preposition

Subjective-vs-objective-pronounsWhat is the object of the preposition? The object of a preposition is the noun or pronoun that is paired with a preposition to create a prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase always starts with a preposition and ends with a noun (the object of the preposition).

To find the object of the preposition, locate a preposition. If it is followed by a noun (including a noun clause or phrase) or a pronoun, it is the object of the preposition.

The object of a preposition be a noun or pronoun. If they are personal pronouns, the object of the preposition will change to the personal pronoun objective case.

Examples:

  • Lisa went with Rae.
    • Subject: Lisa
    • Verb: went
    • Preposition: with
    • Object of preposition: Rae (noun)
  • John lives by me.
    • Subject: John
    • Verb: lives
    • Preposition: by
    • Object of preposition: me (personal pronoun in objective case)

Summary: What is the English Objective Case?

Define objective case: the definition of objective case is the case denoting the person or thing acted upon. This is contrasted with the person of thing “doing” the action.

In summary,

  • The objective case refers to nouns that are objects.
  • Those objects may be direct objects, indirect objects, or objects of prepositions.
  • In English, personal pronouns change when in the objective case.