''a him''

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JakiGeh

New Member
Japanese
Hello

Is this sentence correct? Why do we use the 'a' with the pronoun?:

'What makes you think he is a him'

Thank you
 
  • Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Where did you find this sentence? What is the context? This is not at all the way we would normally speak, but it is sometimes used to make a point.
     

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This is an idiomatic way of asking "what makes you think he is a male person?". It has a very different meaning from "What makes you think he is him?".
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Assuming that most of us are living mostly in some real world, if grammar facts can be called 'real', the pronoun 'him' is the object case of the pronoun 'he'.
    Some names do not indicate gender, even to native speakers: "Jan", for example; sometimes people just don't know what gender a first name indicates. Perhaps they can't distinguish between spelling differences such as 'Frances' vs 'Francis'.
    If somebody refers to me as 'he', I'll say "I'm not 'a he', I'm 'a she'.
    "Flannery O'Conner is a she" = "Flannery O'Connor is a woman".
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    What is curious about the sentence is "What make you think he is a him?" If we do not know the sex, we would say "What makes you think the letter writer is a him?" or "What makes you think it is a him?"

    And we still do not yet have the source or context, which is a forum requirement.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Is this sentence correct? Why do we use the 'a' with the pronoun?:'What makes you think he is a him'
    "Him" is a noun in this sentence. It is what is known as "a trivial use".
    A better punctuation, which may make the sentence more clear:

    What makes you think this person is a "him"?
    All words can be nouns when you refer to that word specifically: "Why did you add a "the" when you said "The sympathy was widespread."
     

    JakiGeh

    New Member
    Japanese
    "Him" is a noun in this sentence. It is what is known as "a trivial use".

    All words can be nouns when you refer to that word specifically: "Why did you add a "the" when you said "The sympathy was widespread."
    If this is specific, shouldn't it be: ''the 'the' ''?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    If this is specific, shouldn't it be: ''the 'the' ''?
    (a) that has nothing to do with the question asked.
    (b) A "the" is perfectly correct as I wrote it.
    (c) The the is not specific, there is an infinite amount of "thes" in existence - that the was merely one of them.

    a is a determiner = one example of
     
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