will be he or will be him?

kmach

New Member
English
I've come across a sentence, "The man wearing the red carnation will be he."

I'm not quite sure if the use of 'he' in this sentence is acceptable as I would use 'him' following the rule of the 3rd person object (him/her/it). Although if re-structured (He will be the man wearing the red carnation), the sentence is correct. It sounds off to me using 'he' instead of 'him' in this particular structure.

I encountered this sentence while taking an online grammar test.

Can anyone help clarify this?

Thanks!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'He' here is stilted, old-fashioned. Almost all present-day speakers would say 'him'.

    'Online grammar test'? *spit* Most of them would have no idea what's grammatical and what isn't.
     

    kmach

    New Member
    English
    But would you say that the sentence is grammatically correct even if it's old-fashioned?

    Thanks!
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    For me this is a borderline case. 'Grammar' books present such things as grammatical, and some English speakers do use them. I suspect they only do because they read about them in some 'grammar' book. But I might be wrong: they might be genuinely natural for some people.

    If I didn't encounter this sort of thing in other people's writing, it would be simple: I would say it's completely ungrammatical. But if people do say it . . .

    Note: People, good writers, definitely said this in the past. It used to be fully grammatical, standard English, no question. And literate speakers will be familiar with old books in which it occurs. But is it grammatical today?
     
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