both she/her and her husband

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ticcota, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. ticcota Senior Member


    In this sentence:"Both she and her husband are doctors." I'm not sure if I should use "Both she and her husband" or "Both her and her husband". I guess I should use "she" because it's used as the subject?

    And also, should I say:"Both them are doctors." or "Both of them are doctors."?

    Thank you.
  2. .~Cornelia~.

    .~Cornelia~. New Member

    Both her and her husband ....
    For the second question , I think both of them is the right one..
  3. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    No, it's SHE and her husband. That is the only correct answer.

    She is a doctor.
    Her husband is a doctor.
    Both she and her husband are doctors.

    "She" is the subject. It remains "she" whether there is another person or not.

    And, yes, both of them are doctors.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  4. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Putting prescriptive rules aside, you'll definitely find that (I'd tenatively guess at) a huge portion of native speakers (myself included) would only ever use the objective forms in compound subjects (which I've mentioned a few times before on here). So for written rules where it's important to make it known you have a good 'standard literary knowledge', use the nominatives but there are no rules for correctness of this sort in the relaxed colloquial language and this usage cannot said to be wrong in that situation, because that would imply that nobody does it, and in fact it happens absolutely everywhere, so on that level it cannot be called incorrect.

    From a descriptive analysis of English it's fantastically easy to make the case that this is also 'perfect English' to use oblique pronouns (and there is a whole set of linguistic studies documenting exactly that, i.e. this, this, this, this and this, and Webster's noted that it's been around for hundreds of years), but we do have a tradition of prescriptive rules that people are judged on and here it's important to know what other people will expect of you, so 'correctness' very much comes in two forms.

    Regarding the second part of the question, only "both of them" would be considered correct.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  5. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Does all that mean you're saying that, from your perspective, her is a doctor is correct, as long as a fellow physician is mentioned in the same sentence? :eek:
  6. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Of course not, because anyone who knows anything about this construction is perfectly aware that this doesn't surface in a non-conjoined form.
    Mentioned in the same sentence and part of the same subject element are a far far cry from one another.

    << editing out irrelevant stuff >>
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  7. dukaine Senior Member

    Richmond, VA
    English - American
    I don't say that incorrect colloquial usages are correct; I say that they are accepted or common conversational usages. In most cases, people will only use the objective form when referring to more than one. You'll rarely find someone who says "Her is a doctor", but almost everyone (not me though ;) )says "Her and her husband are doctors."
  8. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    "Almost everyone"??? I don't agree; I think most educated speakers would not say this.
  9. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    English (USA)
    Exactly right. Ticota, learn the correct form (correct in English class and on standardized tests like TOEFL, SAT, etc.) but know that the other usage is out there, so you're not surprised when you hear it. Just remember that in AE if you use object pronouns in this example instead of nominatives, you might be considered "ignorant" or uneducated by someone listening to you.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011

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