One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Used as the object of a verb or preposition to refer to a male person or animal previously mentioned or easily identified.‘his wife survived him’Compare with he‘he took the children with him’
- ‘It was typical of him not to mention that his daughter, the lovely Candida, was engaged to one.’
- ‘My friend recently mentioned charging him some rent, plus his share of the bills.’
- ‘Police have since been able to identify him, but have not yet released his name.’
- ‘I could talk to him more easily than I could talk to dad, who was very much up on a pedestal.’
- ‘The last five minutes have seen him easily the most animated he's been all day.’
- ‘He was very grateful for the meals that had previously been provided for him.’
- ‘Gosh, he must have been angry when the original programmes barely mentioned him.’
- ‘Berg himself is so above it all that even his wife refers to him, at least to the press, only by an honorific.’
- ‘I have heard him mention his son several times in interviews, but not his daughter.’
- ‘So why go out of your way as an opposition leader to identify yourself with him.’
- ‘I mention to him that in real life, he often says something and then apologises for it.’
- ‘I asked him why and he mentioned that her car hadn't been at her place for a few nights.’
- ‘Aberdeen are still on the trail of the culprit and the club has made an appeal for supporters to identify him.’
- ‘Flying in very high altitudes does weird things to him and can easily lead to an MS relapse.’
- ‘Nobody has mentioned him but he's playing well enough to figure and we know he loves it round Augusta.’
- ‘Allegations made against him previously in Lothian and Borders would have shown up.’
- ‘I'm too scared even to mention this to him, for he is sure to say it is impossible.’
- ‘George Ryan's work on the death penalty has brought him mention as a contender for the peace prize.’
- ‘I remember my grandmother talking about him and mentioning the spelling was wrong.’
- ‘After you do this you can probably convince him more easily that he must consider others.’
- 1.1 Referring to a person or animal of unspecified sex (in modern use chiefly replaced by “him or her” or “them”)‘withdrawing your child from school to educate him at home may seem drastic’
- ‘I don't know who the new Tory leader will be but education will figure highly with him.’
- ‘It could even be educational: give it to a child and watch him grow up to be the next John Bonham.’
- 1.2 Often used in place of “he” after the verb “to be” and after “than” or “as” to refer to a male person or animal.‘that's him all right’‘I could never be as good as him’
- ‘Suddenly Ammu hoped that it had been him that Rahel saw in the march.’
- ‘I'll try to be faster than him, of course, but I don't even know him yet.’
2North American dialect, archaic Himself.‘in the depths of him, he too didn't want to go’
On whether him or he is the correct pronoun in a comparative construction (smarter than him or smarter than he?), see personal pronoun and than
Old English, dative singular form of he, hē ‘he’ and hit ‘it’.
Her or His Imperial Majesty.
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