He/Him buttering sunscreen on my back


We were vacationing at the beach, I/me sprawled on my towel, he/him buttering sunscreen on my back.

What should be the correct choice and why?

My intuition tells me that me ... him is the correct choice but I'm not very sure.

(Sorry, I don't know the name of these type of construction, so I couldn't write a better title.)


Posted 2018-08-22T16:17:27.590

Reputation: 5 741



To be idiomatic you would not use the nominative case there but me and him.


Posted 2018-08-22T16:17:27.590

Reputation: 116 610

This is the answer. – Eddie Kal – 2018-08-23T13:37:17.487


It's hard to say, because either way this is not a grammatically correct sentence. That doesn't mean that a fluent speaker wouldn't say it, especially in informal speech.

A grammatically correct sentence would be, "We were vacationing at the beach: I was sprawled on my towel; he was buttering sunscreen on my back." (Or you could break it into three sentences, or many other possible variations.)

All that said, I think most English speakers would say me/him.


Posted 2018-08-22T16:17:27.590

Reputation: 51 729

1Why do you say it's ungrammatical? It means the same thing as We— me sprawled on my towel, him buttering sunscreen on my back— were vacationing at the beach. I probably wouldn't use this construction in business writing, but that's because of its informality, not its grammaticality. – choster – 2018-08-22T22:50:17.970

The sentence, in either version, is perfectly grammatical. If you consider it ungrammatical, what grammar errors do you see in it? Are you saying it is a run-on (which I think clearly it is not)? Also, worth noting the OP is an active user on Writer.SE and a publisher author (That's enough, Google). This style of writing is extremely common in contemporary fiction writing. I don't think I'd go through a single book picked out from the fiction section of a book store without encountering a sentence similar in structure to this. – Eddie Kal – 2018-08-23T13:35:28.380


I don't think him and me would be a correct usage there.

A correct sentence would be:

We were vacationing at the beach, I sprawled on my towel while he buttered sunscreen on my back.

Shweta Panicker

Posted 2018-08-22T16:17:27.590

Reputation: 17

1Did you mean to say "in my towel"? It seems like on is the better preposition there. – J.R. – 2018-08-22T17:44:22.257

I wrote "in" because i thought you meant to say you were wearing the towel. my bad. Lying on the towel or sprawling on the towel will be correct – Shweta Panicker – 2018-08-26T06:48:42.287