Today my wife said, “These are they”. I cringe when I hear such butchery of English in the name of correctness. Looking for the lemonade among the lemons, I realized that such nonsense offers an good illustration of the difference between ’learning’ language and ’acquiring’ language.
“These are they” and “This is she” have to be learned. They are not a part of the English language. When the genius, the essential nature, of the language is violated in this manner, we must struggle to learn such usage and to preserve it in our arsenal of status-seeking devices.
The use of the oblique form of pronouns in a predicate position occurs in many languages but it is most useful to cite French, which never says *”C’est je” but rather “C’est moi”. (The reason the oblique form of the pronoun ’je’, ’me’, is not used is b/c in the predicate position it is stressed, i.e. it is a strong form and ’me’ is a weak form.) Why French? Because most people who think “It is we” sounds correct also believe in the superiority of one language over another with French near the top of their list
The efficacy of the Prescriptivists is manifest in the large number of people who say, “This is he” no matter that it doesn’t flow in the ssame channel as the rest of the language. They must learn to say “This is she”. In the face of clear evidence that such usage violates English grammatical patterns, they declare, “I plant my flag here and refuse to split my infinitives or to dangle my participles.” We envision them standing on a fortified mount, besieged by monkey-people filled with blood-lust and screaming, “It’s us,” “It’s me,” “It’s them”, as our hero shouts back, “It is I.”