I have a doubt in choosing the subject and object form of pronoun in some sentences

I found following examples in "Word Power Made Easy" by Norman Lewis. But there was no explanation covered for the same. Can someone please provide reasons for the answers given in following examples:

  1. Your husband doesn't believe that you are older than (I/me). (Ans: I)

  2. May we are not as rich as (they/them), but I bet we are a lot happier. (Ans: they)

  3. I can't remember (who/whom) it was. (Ans: who)

  4. No one but (she/her) ever made a perfect score in the test. (Ans: her)

  5. We have just interviewed an applicant (who/whom) the committee believes is best qualified for the position. (Ans: who)

  6. Was it (she/her) you were talking about? (Ans: she)

  • 2
    Sorry he's so clueless about English grammar, but it's a good example of how much nonsense there is out there. His books still sell well on Amazon, because they state the rules. They're the wrong rules, but they're stated boldly, and that's all anybody really wants. Think of it as Trumpian grammar. Jun 10, 2017 at 17:13
  • Yes, as pointed out in the answers to my question, grammar part of that book is not correct. But I like the way the author of that book has used etymology to explain the meaning of words. His methodology really helps in improving vocabulary range. Jun 12, 2017 at 19:19
  • 1
    Etymology is useful, as long as you don't confuse it with meaning. Anything that will help you remember and use lexical items properly is useful. Jun 12, 2017 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


This looks like the rules of Latin being applied to English.

In Latin, a subject complement takes the nominative case. In Latin you must say "It I is". In English the objective case is usually correct: "It is me". However attempting to simulate Latin has lead "It is I" becoming an acceptable alternative.

It looks like Norman Lewis is from the prescriptive English grammar = Latin camp. This results in sentences that sound stilted, or in some cases just incorrect grammar. A simple rule is "if the pronoun is the subject use the subject pronoun":

  • Your husband doesn't believe that you are older than I

Not incorrect (due to the influence of Latin), but "me" would be preferable to most speakers. ("I" is not the subject so "me" is better)

  • Maybe we are not as rich as they,...

Incorrect application of Latin Grammar. Use them

*I can't remember who it was.

Correct. You are rarely wrong to use who in place of whom. Whom is an object pronoun, who is nowadays being used in as both subject and object.

  • No one but her ever made a perfect score in the test.

Correct. "Her" is not the subject, so don't use "she".

  • We have just interviewed an applicant who...

Correct, as before

Was it she you were talking about?

  • Incorrect. Incorrect application of Latin grammar. "She" is not in subject position, use "her".
  • 2
    Norman Lewis was a self-taught "expert" on English grammar. From 1964 to 1995, he taught English at Rio Hondo College, a two-year community college in Whittier, California. Ignore what he says. Jun 10, 2017 at 17:11
  • Note that in some examples, the addition of a verb (which can be considered ellipsed) can make them sound OK: "... than I am", "... as they are", etc.
    – CJ Dennis
    Jul 31, 2018 at 2:57

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