Nominative or Subjective Case With Examples


The word “case” is not just a law jargon. It’s also a linguistic term for noun and pronoun categories based on their purpose. One type of case is the nominative case, also known as the subjective case, straight case, or upright case.

Keep reading to know what the nominative case means, how to use it, and some examples. Mastering this grammar topic will help you become more fluent in English. 

What is the Nominative Case?

The nominative case for nouns and pronouns is used when they are the verb’s subject. 

Examples:

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(“Goldie” takes the nominative case because it’s the subject. Goldie is performing the verb “baked” in the sentence.)

(“They” takes the nominative case because it’s the subject. “They” is performing the verb “ran” in the sentence.)

You’ll find it’s also called the subjective case; the nominative case is also employed for a subject complement. A subject complement is a noun or pronoun that describes the subject. It can also rename the subject.

One way to spot a subject complement is by looking for the noun after linking verbs “is,” “are,” etc.

Examples:

  • Sydney and Morris are lawyers.

(“Lawyers” is in the nominative case because it’s the subject complement. It renames the subject “Sydney and Morris,” which is also in the subjective case.)

(“PR manager” is in the nominative case because it’s the subject complement. It renames or describes the subject “she,” which is also in the nominative case.) 

Nominative Case Pronouns

Case is basically the form of a noun or pronoun based on its purpose. The nominative or subjective case pronouns are personal pronouns used as subjects or subjective complements. They include:

  • I (singular).
  • You (singular/plural).
  • He (singular).
  • She (singular).
  • It (singular).
  • We (plural). 

Here are some sentence examples:

  • She bought him an expensive belt. 

(“She” is a nominative case pronoun in the third person, which is the sentence’s subject.)

  • The person who played the video is I.

(“I” is a nominative case pronoun in the first person, which is the subjective complement of the sentence.) 

In the second example, the pronoun “I” is used instead of “me” because it’s the subjective complement. You can only use “me” if it’s used as a direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition.

Do Nominative Nouns Change in Form?

In the English language, only pronouns change in form. Meanwhile, nouns do not.

Examples:

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  • The doctor helped the patient.

(In the sentence, the subject “doctor” is in the nominative case because it performs the action “helped.”)

  • The patient helped the doctor.

(Here, “doctor” is in the objective case, specifically a direct object. But the word remains the same in spelling.)

But a pronoun changes in form when the case changes. For instance, the objective counterpart of “I” is “me.” 

Examples:

(“She” is the subject pronoun of the verb “like.”)

(“She” changes to “her” when it is not in the subjective case.)

Only the pronouns “you” and “it” stays the same regardless of the case. Here’s a complete list of the nominative pronouns and their objective counterparts. 

Nominative Case Objective Pronoun
I Me
You You
He  Him
she Her
It  It
They  Us
We Them

What are the Examples of Subjective Case?

Here are more examples of sentences with nouns and pronouns in the nominative case highlighted.

  • The advertising agency will be in touch with you.
  • The second set of customers will be accommodated tomorrow. (“Set” is the subject of the sentence instead of “customers.”)
  • The superhero was she.
  • Trina is preparing dinner for the whole family.
  • The person I like is you.
  • Do not throw my files away. (In this sentence, “you” is the verb’s subject, which is in the nominative case.)

What is the Difference Between Nominative and Subjective Case?

The subjective case is a synonym for the nominative case. You can use both as a noun or pronoun that is the subject or subjective complements. 

Other terms for the nominative case include straight case and upright case. 

Why is the Nominative Case Important?

Using the nominative case of a noun or pronoun properly is essential to ensure the agreement between a subject and a verb. 

The subject-verb agreement also entails the importance of numbers. A singular subject must always be paired with a singular verb, and a plural subject goes with a plural verb. 

For example, you know that it should be “the judge is” and not “the judge are.” You also understand that it’s “the group of friends was” and not “the group of friends were” because the subject is “group.”

Summary of the Nominative Case

Different cases of nouns and pronouns exist to dictate their purpose in the sentence. The nominative case includes nouns and pronouns in the form of a subject or subjective complement. 

I hope this helped you understand the nominative case of a noun or pronoun. Let’s test your knowledge! 



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