001. Usage of He vs. Him

Topic No. 1. Posted by Sri

“I have as many marbles as he.” Saw this sentence yesterday. I thought it should be “him” instead of “he”


subject and object

What do you see here?
Wall, brush and paint.
Can the wall crumble itself like Rajnikant – dip into the paint and blast back to original form? Not so
Can the brush dip into the can and move over the wall? Yes but only in movies perhaps.
Someone needs to pick the brush , dip into the can and do the painting.
Whoever does – man or robot is the subject. The subject certainly needs something to paint on. So the wall is the object. The thing on which subject acts upon. In some sentences these may be implicit (not explicitly mentioned)
Saddam painted the wall.
Saddam = subject
Wall = object
But not every time it has to be a wall. Another person can also be an object. Imagine the Indian Holi festival! Mostly it is Holi kind of situation in sentences where both subject and object are living persons. Also a subject might become an object in a different sentence. With a picture in mind it will be easier to distinguish the differences and correctly identify the subject and object in a sentence.


I have drawn this for explaining clauses. We can look at sentences like trains. Each train = Engine plus coach(es). Of course without engine there is no train even if coaches are present.

In the picture you see an engine and a coach. Can the engine move by itself leaving all coaches? YES! Can the coach move by itself? NO! The engine is independent to move on its own. The coach is dependent on the engine to move. An English sentence is made of one or more clauses. One independent clause or one independent plus dependent clause(s). It’s an independent clause when it conveys a thought completely. Saddam painted the wall when enemies slept.

Here, Saddam painted the wall is an independent clause. when enemies slept is a dependent clause. It cannot convey complete meaning by itself. When put together with ‘Saddam painted the wall’ it becomes meaningful. To put it in simple terms, all subjects and objects are nouns in English. Since pronouns act in place of nouns, pronouns as well become subjects / objects.

Below is example where a pronounced subject.

He painted the wall.

He is a pronoun and in subject form.

In below sentence you get object form for the same.

She looked at him

Him is a pronoun in object form.

Since names are usually same in subject and object form, they are easier to distinguish. It gets confusing with pronouns since they change when as a subject / object. We must first be clear on the pronouns in subject and object forms. I give them below:

First person
Subject form – I
Object form – me

Second person
Subject form – you
Object form – you

Third person
Subject form masculine – he
Object form masculine – him
Subject form feminine – she
Object form feminine – her
Subject form neuter – it
Object form neuter – it

In this sentence the usage of he is right. As you see he is in subject form. There should actually be a verb which is implicit in the sentence like this 👇

I have as many marbles as he (has).

‘He has’ is a clause and he acts as subject.

Consider this one below 👇

I gave Lakshmi more marbles than him

Here him applies. Expanding the unwritten verbs, it should be:

I gave Lakshmi more marbles than (I gave) him

In the clause ‘I gave him’ , it has to be object form him. Not he.

Hope this explanation clarifies the matter.

Author: Venkat

Personal Interests: Writing, Poetry, Teaching English, Teaching Creativity, Vedas, Sanskrit, Drawing, Shading, Guitar, Learning languages and new things , Career: I work in the corporate world in IT as a professional.

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