LAST week, I explained why the nominative and subjective cases are lumped as just a single case in modern English, thenpointed out that nouns don’t inflect or change form at all in these two cases and in the objective case as well. Indeed, only in the possessive do nouns inflect by taking the suffix apostrophe-“s”, as in “The Pope’s visit required unprecedented security measures.” That’s all.

Not so with the pronouns, however. Many of them inflect for case depending on person (first, second, or third), number (singular or plural), and gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter). And nowhere are the inflections more pronounced—and more bewildering to English learners—than in the personal pronouns, which typically change form to show whether they are serving as subject of a clause, as object of a verb, or as object of a preposition.

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