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# No one but him could have told them that the thief was I

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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2014, 07:04
I chose E. For those that chose option C, why did you discount E? Why is that required?
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2015, 08:01
One more reason, why I am unable to gulp this topic is that GMAC wouldn’t like to embroil in a controversy of using ‘but’ as a preposition rather than as a conjunction. Remember the unceremonious way in which GMAC dumped the use of ‘that and which’? It has made it clear it wouldn’t base any question solely on the use of these relative pronouns.

The crux of the question is whether we can use an object pronoun such as him or her to act as a subject? Look at this example
No one but him could have known it. Let's now try these words as individual subjects
No one could have known it
Him could have known it

Does the second sentence have the correct meaning or structure?
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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08 Sep 2015, 01:10

If we totally neglect the option "A" then Discussion remains with B & C.

I think use of "I" is correct because "I" & "The thief" can take the position of each other without changing the meaning.
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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08 Sep 2015, 05:26
daagh wrote:
Sorry! No to OA. No one but him is wrong. We need a subject case - he- there and not an object case - him-. i.e., no one but ‘he’. But second example, whether me or I, is tricky. For this we need to run the interchangeability test and see if the choices make sense.

No one (but him} could have told them that the thief was I
Him (but no one) could have told them that the thief was I
You can see the absurdity of the second sentence. He cannot be a subject.

But in the second case, You may freely interchange the thief for I
You can say the thief was I or I was the thief. So it is ok to keep it as such.
So which will be the choice that upholds both stances? May be B I suppose

Hello daagh
I'm a big fan of your explanations, you are just amazing, and thank you for being active again in this forum.

the word no one is playing a crucial role in deciding whether but... is conjunction or preposition
Suppose if we have every one instead of no one, I think but cannot work as conjunction as you've mentioned earlier.

Every one but him could have told them that the thief was I.
The meaning of the above sentence is every one could have told them but he couldn't.
Here but... -- meaning apart from -- is a preposition and the noun phrase every one but him... acts as subject.

But if but... acts as conjunction and the pronoun him is he, then it will distort the intended meaning of the sentence.
but he could have told them that the thief was I
-->This sentence means that he could have done the act of telling them but in fact he couldn't.
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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09 Sep 2015, 07:03
Thangvietnam
Hi

According to Macmillan dictionary online

but is conjunction when it connects to two clauses
but is a preposition when it connect two nouns

If you read the dictionary correctly, ‘but’ as a preposition joins two nouns but not two object pronouns or a noun and an object pronoun such as ’him’

Can we say ‘him but me is going to the movie? We can’t.

No one but him could have told them that the thief was I

In this case too, ‘him’ is not a nominative noun but an object pronoun.

So it has to be a nominative pronoun 'he' after but
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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26 Sep 2015, 00:38
HI daagh

I have doubt regarding exceptions in the case of pronoun usage

I read here in the previous pots that But, Except ,as ,than etc always are followed by objective case pronoun

And according to this rule this particular question makes sense.

But I have couple of examples where this concept/rule fails

Ruby is tall, but she isn’t as tall as I
We aren't sure who's driving, but it might be she
Here she follows after but and I follows after as both being subjective.

Kindly clarify is this a valid rule/concept

If not whats the valid concept

Thanks
Kani
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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26 Sep 2015, 19:58
1
Kani

Since you're a stickler for rules, the following are comprehensive lessons on pronouns,
which I happened to found in the book "When Bad Grammar Happens to Good People"

(1) Use the subjective case when…
Rule #1a: The pronoun is the subject of the verb.
e.g.: I, we, you, he, she, it, they ran away.
Rule #1b: The pronoun follows a finite form of the verb “to be”
(any form of “to be” except the infinitive form with the
“to” in front of it).

e.g.: They believed that the thief was I, you, he, she.
They believed that the thieves were we, you, they.

(2) Use the objective case when…
Rule #2a: The pronoun is the object of a verb.
e.g.: The search team found me, him, her, it, us, you, them.
Rule #2b: The pronoun is the indirect object of a verb.
e.g.: Bob gave me, him, her, us, you, them all the zucchini
in his garden.
Rule #2c: The pronoun is the subject of an infinitive.
e.g. The boss told me, him, her, us, you, them to do it.
Rule #2d: The pronoun is the object of an infinitive.
e.g.: The judge wanted to believe me, him, her, it, us, you, them.
Rule #2e: The pronoun is the object of a preposition.
e.g.: Put the blanket over me, you, him, her, it, us, them.

(3) Use the possessive case when…
Rule #3a: The pronoun itself is being used to indicate possession.
e.g.: My, your, her, his, our, their toaster.

Moreover, You assumed that every word in English would've only one function or use.
i.e. every word belongs to one class of Parts of Speech (there are eight of them).
For instance, you thought the word "but" is a preposition, but in the examples you cited "but" acts a conjunction.
Also, the word "as" acts a subordinating conjunction by introducing the basis of comparison.

To know more about how the same word can be used as different parts of speech,

kanigmat011 wrote:
Ruby is tall, but she isn’t as tall as I
We aren't sure who's driving, but it might be she
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2016, 03:20
For such questions I practice a simple method- ask your self questions?

Who could say? Of course you will say- "he could say" or if the questions is "Who has done this?- of course you will say "he has done this/that?

So, try to imagine this sentence as- " I know that I (not me) am the thief and only he (not him) could say/know that".

Also, try saying " me was the thief" & "I was the thief"? Which one of them sounds better? of course the second sounds better and first makes almost no sense. I have noticed that apart from grammar logic these questions can also be solved with the help of asking yourself few questions.

Regards
Yash
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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05 Aug 2019, 09:36
summer101 wrote:
No one but him could have told them that the thief was I

A. him could have told them that the thief was I

B. he could have told them that the thief was I

C. he could have told them that the thief was me

D. him could have told them that the thief was me

E. he could have told them the thief was me

Hey GMATNinja can you please take this one? Is the OA right?
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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05 Aug 2019, 11:33
daagh wrote:
No one but him could have told them that the thief was I.

The first pronoun --- he or him?:
‘No one’ is joined with ‘him’ by a ‘but’, a coordinating conjunction. ‘But’ is supposed to join equal things. ‘No one’ is a subject pronoun and hence, we need a subject pronoun again. ‘Him’ is an object pronoun, unsuitable for the context, hence, no one but he is the correct version.

Second pronoun: I or me?: That introduces a subordinate clause and its subject is the thief.

Exchange the subject ‘thief’ with ‘me’ and ‘I’ individually. The two sentences are 1. That ‘me’ was the thief and 2. ‘I’ was the thief. One can see that me was the thief does not fit in. I was the thief is better. So the thief was I is the correct expression.

Hi daagh

You mention that : "hence, no one but he" is the correct version but you chose B for an answer

Furthermore, In the second part of the sentence, shouldn't "Me" , the object pronoun of "I", be more appropriate as the usage is as an object.

thanks
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Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I  [#permalink]

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05 Aug 2019, 22:57
daagh wrote:
Azhr

Quote:
No one but him could have told them that the thief was I

A. him could have told them that the thief was I

B. he could have told them that the thief was I

C. he could have told them that the thief was me

D. him could have told them that the thief was me

E. he could have told them the thief was me

Quote:
My earlier response

Second pronoun: I or me? That introduces a subordinate clause and its subject is the thief.

Exchange the subject ‘thief’ with ‘me’ and ‘I’ individually. The two sentences are one. That ‘me’ was the thief and two. ‘I’ was the thief. One can see that me was the thief does not fit in. I was the thief is better. Therefore, the thief was I am the correct expression.

Quote:
My current correction

Yes, I agree. I have mixed up the second pronoun. Actually, 'the thief' is the subject. However, I wrongly described 'I" as the object. This is a mix up. It should be really "the thief was me" and not "the thief was I". The object pronoun 'me' is the better one.

Therefore, the correct choice is either C or E. However, I cannot see any great impact of dropping the connector 'that'. I will take the dropping as perfectly grammatical.

Quote:

pretty clear. thanks
Re: No one but him could have told them that the thief was I   [#permalink] 05 Aug 2019, 22:57

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