The Difference between 'He' and 'Him'
Which one is grammatically correct? 'I invited his parents, his girlfriend and he?' or 'I invited his parents, his girlfriend and him?' Let's find out!
He vs. Him
The key to knowing when to use 'he' and when to use 'him' is to know what is a subject pronoun and what is an object pronoun.
Subject Pronoun: He
'He' as the subject of a verb can refer to:
'He' is the third-person singular subject pronoun. As the name suggests, subject pronouns represent a male person already mentioned or easily identified that does the action of the verb.
As in this example, 'he' replaced the masculine subject of the sentence. Rather than saying 'That's my father over there—my father's a teacher', you can just say 'he' to avoid repetition.
'He' can also refer to a male animal. Sometimes, English speakers refer to their male pets as 'he' when they want to anthropomorphize them and show that there is an emotional bond between them.
A Person with Unidentified Gender
Another usage of the subject pronoun 'he' is when we want to refer to a person, male or female, but we don't want to express what sex they are or their sex is unknown to us.
Nowadays, this usage of 'he' is considered unacceptable. And most writers prefer to use 'they' to be gender-neutral.
when the police don't know if the person is a male or female, they use 'he' as a generic term.
Human beings in General
'He' can also be used to refer to any human beings in general. However, in modern English, some consider this incorrect and prefer to use the singular 'they'.
'He' with a capital letter 'H' can refer to God in some religious texts.
'Him' is the third-person masculine object pronoun. It can be used as:
Direct and Indirect Object
An object pronoun receives the action of the verb and represents the person or animal that is affected by the subject either directly or indirectly.
Object of Preposition
'Him' is also used after a preposition. Look at this example:
Predicative after the Verb Be
'Him' also is used after the verb 'be' to refer to a male person or animal already mentioned.
Technically, after the verb 'be', we must use a subject pronoun. It was considered grammatically correct. But idiomatically and in spoken language, no one says 'Who's at the door?' 'It's
'Him' with a capital letter, can refer to 'God' in some religious contexts.
Multiple-word Subject or Object: Him or He?
Now, how do we choose between 'he' and 'him' when we have a multiple-word subject or object. It so happens that a subject or object is more than one person. They are usually combined with the word 'and'.
Here, 'he and I' are in the position of subject. It can be replaced by the pronoun 'we.'
Here, 'he and me' are in the position of object. It can be replaced by the pronoun 'us.'