Use Pronouns Correctly

Pronouns are little words like I, me, he, she, him, and her. Using pronouns in police reports requires attention to a few easy rules.Here are some tips:

  • I” and “me” are perfectly appropriate in criminal justice reports. Calling yourself “this officer” instead of “I” does not automatically make you objective and professional. (If only it were that simple!)
  • Don’t use “she” when there are two females: It’s too confusing. Similarly, don’t use “he” when there are two males. Give names or revise the sentence for clarity.Here are two examples:

Mrs. Brown called her mother after work. She thought she heard a noise outside. UNCLEAR: Which woman heard the noise?

Mrs. Brown thought she heard a noise when she called her mother after work. BETTER

Be careful not to confuse “she” and “her” (and “he” and “him”). Note these examples:

He lived in the apartment upstairs. CORRECT

His wife and he lived in the apartment upstairs. CORRECT

His wife and him lived in the apartment upstairs. INCORRECT  [You wouldn’t say “Him lived,” would you?]

He told me about the break-in. CORRECT

He told my partner and me about the break-in. CORRECT

He told my partner and I about the break-in.  INCORRECT  [You wouldn’t say “He told I,” would you?]

To learn more, click here and read about Pronoun Rule 2. You can download a free pronoun handout at bit.ly/PronounsMadeSimple.

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