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The first time was in March-April 2012, when I was still in Canada visiting family and relatives, and Sandra had returned to Australia. I returned to Australia 3 weeks after she.

It sounds strange, but is it correct?

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  • 1
    It's always 'after her'. – Mitch Jun 12 '13 at 10:50
  • You could say "3 weeks after she did". It's not ungrammatical, but somewhat stilted. – Marcos Gonzalez Jun 12 '13 at 10:58
  • after she did? – Kris Jun 12 '13 at 10:58
  • @MarcosGonzalez Split second! :) – Kris Jun 12 '13 at 10:59
  • Oops! I answered just a split-second... after you. Or after you did? :-)) – Marcos Gonzalez Jun 12 '13 at 11:00
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... Sandra had returned to Australia. I returned to Australia 3 weeks after she.

This is not correct.

While it may be true that what you mean is "I returned to Australia three weeks after she returned to Australia", in this case syntactical form trumps meaning. Formally, bare SHE is the entire object of the preposition; it is not apprehended as the subject of an ellipted clause; it must therefore be realized in its objective-case form, her.

Nominative-case she would be employed after a preposition only when it is followed by a verb of which it is the subject—more precisely, when the object of the preposition is a clause of which she is the subject.

Sandra had returned to Australia. I returned to Australia 3 weeks after she did.

This is true in all registers. The most rigorous pedant (e.g. me—or I) would not write after she here.

  • "Nominative-case she is employed only if it is followed by a verb of which it is the subject." An exception to this is that the verb "to be" also uses the nominative case as the object: "May I speak to Bob, please?" "This is he." "Are you the one who plays the piano?" "I am he." – BobRodes Jun 30 '13 at 15:02
  • @snailplane I'm sorry, but I'm unable to find anything in the article you post that supports your assertion that "'I am he' is not an example of good English." Can you help me out? In particular, I'm curious about this from the article, which seems to contradict the assertion: "And we do follow that rule to some extent: 'Who are they?' (not 'Who are them?' or "Whom are they?') 'We are they!' (in response to the preceding)." – BobRodes Mar 19 '14 at 13:10
  • @BobRodes I'll delete my old comment, as my views have softened somewhat in the meantime, but I still don't consider "I am he" particularly good English. What the link was meant to show you was that the rule is spurious and that there's no reason to favor "I am he" over "I am him" on grammatical grounds. (And no, what you quote does not support your point--it's about "Who are they", not "I am he".) "I am he" is definitely inferior English (favored by almost zero speakers), but I'm willing to admit that it's grammatical, if over-formal. – snailboat Mar 20 '14 at 11:57
  • Again, please show me anything in your link that demonstrates that the rule is spurious. I've looked and looked, and can't find anything. (And now you've deleted the link, so I'll have to go googling for it if I want to look any further.) Also, are you saying that my error is that the rule is true in the plural form but not in the singular? – BobRodes Mar 20 '14 at 18:18
  • @BobRodes (I am only now seeing your original comment) I have edited my answer to make clear that I am speaking only of cases like that OP asks about, where the pronoun follows a preposition. – StoneyB Mar 21 '14 at 1:41

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