Monday, September 19, 2011

Today's Writing Tip Is on When to Use He, His or Him

Most of the time it's a no-brainer as to when to use he or his. "He opened the car door to get his groceries." Simple. But what about this?

"Mark and his wife were excited about their evening; the president of the college provided theater tickets for he and his family."

Right or wrong? Wrong.

The president provided tickets for him and his family. Whenever you're confused about using a pronoun because of a second pronoun, just omit the second clause – “the president provided tickets for he” sounds bad. If you're still unsure, say it out loud. What throws people off balance in this example is the combination of referring to two different people.

Read more about punctuation in my third book, Be Your Own Editor, available in print ( and now a bestseller on Kindle ( Or get 20% off the regular price by writing directly to me.


  1. Good tips and refreshers. It really annoys me when people use the incorrect reference.

    Why the need for tiny urls in the blog entry? It's not like you're limited for character length...



  2. Thanks, T! I'm so used to tiny urls for Twitter that I forget I have more space here. LOL. Will keep that in mind.



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