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It's she who had to leave her family.

It's hers her who had to leave her family.

Are the sentences above correct?
If so, I want to know the difference, if there is.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Glorfindel, Nathan Tuggy, P. E. Dant, Peter Oct 31 '16 at 4:06

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  • 1
    Purists would ask Who had to leave her family?, and say that since the response Her had to leave isn't valid, this "proves" that your version must use she. But many native speakers take little or no notice of this line of reasoning, particularly in informal contexts (compare that "contracted" it's with the more formal version for it is). – FumbleFingers Oct 30 '16 at 16:58
  • @FumbleFingers Me agree that it don't matter anymore. Let's hear it for the impurists! – P. E. Dant Oct 30 '16 at 21:57
  • @P. E. Dant: Methinks 'twas ever thus! :) – FumbleFingers Oct 30 '16 at 22:37
  • Oh, you would roll that one out! It's the equivalent of a fourth-best lead! :) – P. E. Dant Oct 30 '16 at 22:47

It's she who had to leave her family. = grammatical, is/are are followed by subject pronouns. she, he, I, we, they.

It's hers=means some object belongs to her. It's called a possessive pronoun. The others are mine, hers, his, theirs, ours, yours.


This sort of question confuses even native speakers and leads to much argument. As FumbleFingers mentions in his comment, you can try to rephrase the sentence as a question to get a clue which form of the pronoun to use:

Who had to leave her family? She did.

Using this technique, the answer would be:

It is she who had to leave her family.

"She" sounds better in this case because it is the "subject" of the adjectival clause "who had to leave her family". Without the clause it can be more natural to say, "It is her" -- although, arguably, "It is she" might still be more "correct" in perfectly formal English.

More examples:

It is they/them who built the snowman.

(Who built the snowman? They did.) It is they who built the snowman.


The sword shall be given to he/him who deserves it.

(Who deserves it? He does.) The sword shall be given to he who deserves it.


The sword shall be given to he/him.

(Who is it given to? It is given to him.) The sword shall be given to him.

Again, see FumbleFingers' comment with the link to what people actually say. Although this might be "correct":

It is I/me who answered the phone.

(Who answered the phone? I did.) It is I who answered the phone.

just as often, native speakers will say:

"It's me who answered the phone."

Sorry I can't provide a more definite rule. I recommend you pick which you prefer to use, and practice that form until it becomes second nature.

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