I was teaching English to my daughter and stuck up with this structure.

Adjective + pronoun


Poor him!

She said that there is no preposition between the adjective and pronoun like 'Shame on you.' [sic] This all came when she asked about the latest movie 'Despicable Me.'

Help me to answer her! :)


2 Answers 2


It's a phrase that expresses sympathy for the subject (him, her, me, it, they, us, you), it requires third-person concordance. This is done for distancing.

Poor is the adjective that modifies the pronoun (which acts as a noun) that is in the objective case. It's grammatically correct to place adjectives before nouns. Any further pronouns should also have third-person usages:

  • Stupid me gets himself into trouble again.
  • Silly me lost her keys again.
  • His wife found out that he was cheating on her. Poor her!

  1. Why do we use the object instead of the subject pronoun in constructions like “stupid me”?
  2. “Despicable Me”: can “me” be used in such a way?
  • But in this case (and generally in PDE) the pronoun is not in nominative but in objective case. Note that Kittredge's grammar is Latinate and very old-fashioned, and not reliable for PDE. Jul 4, 2017 at 12:04
  • What does PDE stand for? Jul 4, 2017 at 12:13
  • @SovereignSun Present-Day English. Jul 4, 2017 at 12:16
  • 2
    @SovereignSun Kittredge seems to be just modern enough (in 1913!) to use 'objective' for Lat 'accusative' and 'dative'. Jul 4, 2017 at 14:11
  • 2
    Note that "Stupid me gets himself" and any other examples where the person appears to change are so awkward for the average speaker that we would usually break it up: "Stupid me! I got myself in trouble again." For the third person this isn't an issue ("Clever John got himself a new car with zero down payment.") Jul 4, 2017 at 18:26

"Sentence" is a typographic category, not a grammatical one. This sentence is a noun phrase, not a clause.

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