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I wrote about this a short while ago, but it continues to gnaw at my soul.  Lately, in one of the documents I look at for a living, I saw something like this:

I have assigned it to she and Mike.

Honestly, Dear Reader!  The writer never would have written, “I have assigned it to she.”  He understands instinctively, as all native English-speakers do, that she is in the subjective case, and her is in the objective case.  He might not know the names of the cases, or even that they are cases, but he knows without thinking to say, “She went to the store;” and “I gave it to her.”  When one person is the object of a preposition or verb, he gets the case right automatically.  But when he has to apply a preposition or verb to two people, suddenly, like so many people these days, he goes crazy and starts using the subjective case.

English really makes few demands of us with regard to case, Dear Reader.  It has only these two cases, and they apply only to personal pronouns.  Lithuanian, on the other hand, has seven cases (I thought Prof. Klimas had told me twenty-one, back when he was teaching me German at the University of Rochester, but apparently my memory exaggerated), and I assume they apply to all nouns, adjectives, and pronouns.  (After skimming the Wikipedia article, I gather they also apply to adverbs.  Who knew?)  At any rate, is it too much to ask that we English-speakers thank our lucky stars, and trouble ourselves to use our measly two cases correctly?

 

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