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In some languages there are absolute constructions like the Genitive Absolute in Greek:

  • Καὶ ἤδη ὥρας πολλῆς γενομένης προσελθόντες αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἔλεγον ὅτι ἔρημός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος καὶ ἤδη ὥρα πολλή·

Where the genitive phrase (in bold) is grammatically independent from the rest of the sentence and is translated as a dependent clause ("When it had already become late...").

In English as well there are absolute constructions like, "All things being equal," and so on.

Is there a name for a construction that is actually a part of the main clause but is nevertheless seemingly unaffected by the grammatical rules?

I am thinking of instances of compound subjects and objects that do not get inflected (in some speakers' speech) for case, such as:

  • My dad got tickets to the premiere of the new Star Wars tickets for he and I! Early birthday gift!!
  • Please stop asking what happened out of respect for she and I. Just know it’s over.
  • Ask not for whom it tolls. It tolls for he and she.
  • Nothing’s gonna change not for we and you.

In all of these cases (all of which were recorded from statements made online) it looks like the compound objects are unaffected by the prepositions that proceed them.

However, it seems unlikely that the speakers of these sentences would say, "My dad got tickets to the premiere for he" or "Please stop asking out of respect for I" or "Nothing's gonna change for we."

It looks like it's a function of being in the compound object that renders the constituent parts impervious to the requirements of the sentence structure. In this way, it's like an absolute but is still nevertheless part of the main clause.

Is there a term for such a thing?

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    I don't see a connection between absolutives and the grammtical phenomenon about nominative pronouns after prepositions in some dialects of English. Can you clarify your question? – jknappen - Reinstate Monica Feb 17 at 9:36
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    I would say that the compounds in your examples are inflected for subject case. However, there is another instance in colloquial English where compounded pronouns are treated differently. We get "Him and me are staying" from people who would never say *"Him is staying". – Greg Lee Feb 17 at 14:45
  • An absolute can be defined as a non-finite clause that has a subject, and which serves as a supplement. Thus It has no syntactic link to the main clause. For example "[His voice trembling with fear], he frantically called out for help". "[All things being equal], I'll be home by 9pm" fits the definition, but your other examples don't. – BillJ Feb 17 at 18:28
  • As @GregLee hints, this is a hypercorrection of a phenomenon with centuries of tradition in English AND French (!). "Who is there?" "Me." / "It's me." But totally wrong to most of the SAE world. – Adam Bittlingmayer Feb 18 at 13:36
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In the phrase "ablative absolute", absolute (= Latin absolutus) means "self-standing" and is derived from *sol- "alone".


What you describe in your examples is in my opinion hypercorrection, that is to say incorrect and paradoxical constructions that are originally designed to avoid incorrection. In theory, you and me are human beings is incorrect, me (subject) should be I. But in phrases like for you and I, I is obviously incorrect and should be me (prepositional). Now, some people may deliberately say for you and I, but this amounts to pedantism.

  • Just because it's pedantism doesn't mean it's not language – b a Jul 18 at 10:54

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