My simple trick for handling pronoun cases in compounds led to a couple of questions. I am nowhere near my shelf full of reference books, so this is off the top of my head. Anyone with other opinions or approaches is welcome to speak up in the comments.
I'll tell you the one that always trips me up. "It is he/she/I/they." I'm not sure what that form is called. I used to know it, but then it promptly fell out of my head.
An easy explanation for that type of construction? Why should it be 'Woe is I' and not 'Woe is me'?
It's not, "Woe is I." The correct usage would be, "Woe is me."
Here's why. Nominative pronouns (I/he/she/they) are the ones that are used as subjects.
Objective pronouns (me/him/her/them) are the ones that are used as objects. (Get it? Objective = objects.) For example, objects of prepositions:
But also as direct objects.
He loves me.
He loves her.
He loves him.
He loves them.
So far, so good? We do most of this intuitively without ever pondering pronoun cases.
"Woe is me" and similar constructions can generate a little confusion because of an old-fashioned sentence structure, little used today, in which the sentence order is reversed. Instead of SVO, it would be OVS:
I am woe
Woe am I.
Other predicate material continues to follow the reversed OVS:
Grieved am I to learn of your misfortunes.
Happy are they who dwell in the house of the Lord.
How do you know if it's SVO or OVS? Check the verb.
I am woe/ Woe am I.
Woe is me.
When woe is the subject, it takes the third person singular conjugation of the verb of being.
Thomas raises a similar question:
She was born about the same time as me...
Or should that be ...the same time as I?
You thought we were getting all academicky and jargonish with our objective and nominative pronouns? Heh. Here we go now. That right there is what we might call an elliptical adverbial complex sentence.
The adverb "as" is a big troublemaker. For some years now, there's been a rumor going around writerland that we should all cut the word "as" from our sentences. I'm convinced that rumor was started by some poor copy editor who was tired of pulling her hair out over this frequently botched adverb and declared a moratorium on its use. She has my sincere sympathy.
You've used it correctly here to describe a time of an occurrence. So we're good so far. To understand this, let's start by restoring the ellipsis.
She was born about the same time as I (was born).
Now that we have the verb in place, we can see that we need the nominative pronoun. We wouldn't say,
She was born about the same time as me (was born).
The confusion on this probably stems from like/as confusion -- the very same confusion that led some frustrated, bald copy editor to issue her injunction.
Like is a preposition which takes an object, meaning that the pronoun would be in the objective case.
Like me, she was born at City Hospital.
Like I, she was born at City Hospital.
You know I have a cheater's trick for this, too, right? If you don't know whether to use like or as, try substituting when and see what happens.
She was born about the same time when I was born.
Makes a heck of a lot more sense than,
When I, she was born at City Hospital.
It's not a perfect trick, but it will work most of the time.