A Tribute to the Predicate Nominative

Some scholars believe the sole purpose of the predicate nominative is to confuse and confound students of grammar. It’s a holdover from Latin, and I think it’s on its way out.

The verb ‘to be’ – like other linking verbs – does not take an object, so the pronoun following it does not change from I to me or she to her or he to him or they to them.

“What’s he to Hecuba? Or Hecuba to him?”

So if you knock on a door and someone says, “Who is it?” You should technically say, “It is I.” But people don’t. They say, “It’s me” even if they know about the predicate nominative. Why? They don’t want to sound like pedants.

But here’s a tribute to the predicate nominative by my favorite poet, Arthur T. Nash.

Why Is It Not I?

By Arthur T. Nash

Why is it not I?
Married to Lanique Luxton,
Soaring over Dexter
Waving to the chumps below?

Why is it not I?
Schusshing through deep powder,
And, at day’s end,
Retiring to the warm embrace
Of Silence?

Why is it not I?