Re: pronoun/antecedent agreement

Date: Wed Jun 05 1996 - 11:49:10 EDT

Marion Fox here:

I picked up on a discussion that was conducted for a couple of weeks about
a month ago. (I broke off this discussion because I was out of the office
during that time). In this discussion I asked about the subject of a
finite verb. I contended that it must be in the nominative case. I was
corrected by several who pointed out that the true subject was the ending
of the verb (which functions as a pronoun). I then asked if this ending
was truly a pronoun (some said "yes" some said "maybe" and some said "no").
 I cited a couple of grammar books that said something like "the subject of
a finite verb is in the nominative case" and asked if this pronoun (the one
attached to the verb, i.e. the ending of the verb) was that which is in the
nominative case. Some said "yes" and some said "no."

I stated that I had been taught that the subject of a finite verb was in
the nominative case, the subject of an infinitive was in the accusative
case {accusative of general reference}, and noted the "genitive absolute"
construction (a genitive substantive with a genitive participle). I was
corrected for some of my terminology in these posts. This is the
background of this discussion. In response to my posts several passages
were cited which were used to prove that the subject of a finite verb is
"NOT ALWAYS" in the nominative case. {Randy Leedy introduced Matthew 1:18
(5-16-96),Carlton Winberry introduced Romans 8:28 (5-15-96), and some
others introduced other passages (by private E-mail).}

This discussion has improperly digressed to a pronoun/antecedent agreement
and away from the original topic of a finite verb and the subject of that
verb. Several stated that this subject was the verbal ending and not the
substantive. I have requested what one would call the nominative case noun
(etc.) if you did not call it the subject. Several have referred to it as
the antecedent of the finite verb ending.

The headings were "finite verb" which was changed to Romans 8:26 (Romans
8:26-27) {5-10-96} Then to pronoun/antecedent agreement {5-16-96 by Randy
Leedy}. I give this information for any who might like to search the
archives for this discussion.

If any reader does not have these posts I can send them to you. Let me
know. They should be available in the archives in B-GREEK also.

Philip Graber stated:

On Tue, 4 Jun 1996 wrote:

> Marion here with another question: If the antecedent of the pronoun
> (attached to the verb) can be in any case what is the meaning of a noun
> the nominative case? You assert that the subject can be in any case.


You have apparently misunderstood one or more answers along the way. The
term "subject" has nothing to do with pronoun-antecedent agreement. The
explicit subject of a finite verb will be in the nominative case, whether
that subject is a pronoun, noun, or substantive adjective, etc. If the
subject is a pronoun, there is no requirement that its antecedent should
also be nominative; the case of the antecedent will be determined by its
role in its own clause. Likewise, an antecedent of a pronoun that DOES
happen to be subject of a finite verb, and therefore in the nominative
case, does NOT require that the pronoun should be nominative; again the
case of the pronoun is determined by its role in its own clause. If it
is the object of a verb or preposition, it will NOT be nominative, but
whatever case is required by its particular role in relation to the verb
or by the particular preposition. When a pronoun has an antecedent in
the text, agreement is in gender and number, not in case. Pronouns and
their antecedents can be in any case whatsoever and still "agree" with
one another. They will normally only agree in case if they both have
the same role in their respective clauses (e.g., if they are both
subjects of finite verbs). I hope this helps.


Yours in His service,

Marion R. Fox
Engineering Science Department
Rose State College
6420 SE 15th Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73110

4004 Twisted Trail Dr. SE
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73150-1910


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