It had been 'she' who...

Hi again,

In the following sentence Dan Brown uses the personal pronoun she where I would have used the object pronoun her. OK, I’m not Dan Brown so could you please explain what sets us apart here:

Vittoria know it had been she who convinced her father to create the specimen.”


TOEIC short conversations: Two friends update each other on their schedules[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hello “new friend” :smiley:

My humble opinion is that both are correct.

In the famous movie ’ Cleopatra’, Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra) says to Rex Harrison (Julius Caesar) in a bitter argument.

Caesar: “…keep out of my affairs and do as I say.”
Cleopatra: " Do you say, literally? As if it were I
you had conquered."

Obviously the rest is to come from one of the moderators.


Hi Torsten

I’d say the rule has to do with the the fact that be is a copular verb. She refers back to the subject it. It’s grammatically correct.

In everday spoken English, however, you’d probably hear people use her in that sentence.

But if memory serves me correctly, Dan Brown is also an English teacher. So, you might say, mainly English teachers would say or write that sentence that way… :lol:


Amy dear

Just a little personal question(s)------but please do reply.

  • Did you ever write something (a novel or short story) and who is among your favourite bestselling authors, and how do you like Sidney Sheldon? :smiley: [Three in one :smiley: ]


Hi Tom

No, I’ve never written anything except for the occasional short text for my courses. But, to be honest, I prefer my students to do the writing. :lol:

I enjoy lots of different authors. But I especially enjoy mysteries and scary stories. As a result, I’ve probably read every single book and short story Stephen King ever wrote. :lol:


Hi Amy!

As you are a fan of Stephen King I feel free to say that my favourite stories of King are “Pet Cemetary” , “The last Stand” and a story about a young boy who flipped between several worlds -unfortunately I?ve forgotten the title-.

How can you laugh about horrible stories like that are? :wink:


I wasn’t laughing at the stories, Michael. I was laughing at myself. :wink:



I also like S. King but the problem is that he is a bit difficult as compared to other writers. I read his novel Carrie at the age of 16, then at 18 and finally understood it at 20. :smiley: . Isn’t it written in an unusual style? Sort of documentary? I know it sounds daft to ask but I would like to know how long as takes you to finish one novel. If I read something in my language from morn to dusk with full interest I can read at the most 200 pages. Am I SLOW???

I hope you continue the discussion as usual.


Hi Tom

Yes, Stephen King has an unusual style (must be because he’s a yankee ;)) and he’s got a weird imagination.

I can’t really put a time on how long it takes me to read x number of pages. I tend to read novels at a leisurely pace. I never hurry through them. But I suppose my reading speed depends on two things: 1) how interested I am to find out what’s coming next and 2) the writing style.


There is a tension in English between the subject and object forms in English, due to the fact that in the 19th century some grammarians tried to make its forms conform to Latin, which is a very unnatural thing to make English do. This is the source of rules like “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” and “no double negatives”, both of which were normal in English before this tampering, and it’s also the source of the form you bring up here.

English speakers tend to want to use the subject form in positions before the verb (“Who do you want to see?”) and the object form in positions after a verb or prepostion (“It’s him.”). This was natural as far back as the time of Shakespeare, and perhaps before, but these grammarians decided it would not be correct according to the rules of Latin, so they insisted that the subject always take the subject form, and the object always take the object form. It sounds terrible to almost all native speakers to say, “Whom do you want to see?” or, “It’s he,” but because of the mischief of these grammar gremlins in the 1800s, some English teachers still insist on those unnatural forms. This is what Dan Brown is using in the sentence you give.

Yes,now it’s quite normal to use pronouns of common case
It’s he(she,you,we)…who…

Hi Jamie

I like the expression “grammar gremlin”. It fits quite nicely. :lol: :smiley:

Hi Pamela

I think you may have misunderstood Jamie (and me, too. ;))


Why it’s so terrible to use whom do you want to see and etc.?Though I’m not a native speaker and could not judge from native speaker’s point of view but now this construction seems rather usual for me :smiley:

Hi,Amy! :smiley:

It doesn’t seem odd at all to speakers of Slavic languages, because it fits the case inflection rules of their own languages. Remember that I said that the natural tendency in English for centuries has been to use the subject form before the verb and the object form after the verb, regardless of whether the noun is subject or object. Slavic languages don’t have rules like this, so the instinct of Slavic learners of English as to what sounds “right” and “wrong” is often opposite to that of a native English speaker.

Slavs often prefer to say, “With whom did he go?” which is perfectly good for highly formal written English, but sounds terrible in ordinary spoken English or less-formal written English, where we prefer, “Who did he go with?” Slavic learners, however, prefer the excessively formal sentence, because it fits the correct grammatical form in their own languages.

Hi Pamela

The word whom is often ignored almost completely by native speakers. e.g.: “Do you know who he spoke with?” is an absolutely normal and “correct” sentence for a native speaker although it’s technically “grammatically wrong”.

And it’s also quite typical to hear “It’s him” or “It was me.” or “It was me who did it.” etc. from a native speaker. Almost nobody ever says “It was I who did it.” Mainly only English teachers would say something like that. :lol:


And even the English teachers wouldn’t say those things if they were drunk or you scared them awake in the middle of the night. :smiley:

That’s right! :lol:

And even the Queen wouldn’t say “It was I who did it” since she would most likely use the “royal we”. :lol:


A Canadian disk jockey who could do an amazingly good imitation of Jean Cretien’s accent (Cretien was then the prime minister of Canada) was able to get through to Queen Elizabeth one time and put the conversation on the air. When the conversation was more informal and personal, even she didn’t seem to have that super-aristocratic form of RP and just sounded more or less like a regular old lady. (Of course, when she figured out what was going on, she found a diplomatic way to get him off the phone.)