Double Personal Pronouns—I or Me?

Recognize common mistakes

Bachelor talking to date
 

Double Personal Pronouns as Subject

INCORRECT

Some speakers may mistakenly use an object (accusative) pronoun—me, her, him, them, or us—in the subject position of a clause when mentioning more than one person. Yet they use the correct pronoun when only one pronoun is used!

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
ACCUSATIVE PRN V / VP ADV / PP / NP

*Me and Diana

got along

well.

*Them and Jen  

went

on a group date.

*Her and her family 

liked

me a lot.

SINGLE PRONOUN CHECK

Diana

*Me

got along

well.  (sounds bad)

*Them

Jen

went

on a group date.

*Her

Her family

liked

me a lot.

CORRECT

More correctly, speakers use a subject (nominal) pronoun—I, she, he, they, or we in the subject position, and they include themselves last. (If you are unsure which pronoun to use, restate the sentence with one pronoun at a time.)

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
NOMINATIVE PRN V / VP ADV / PP / NP

Diana and I

got along

well.

They and Jen

went

on a group date.

She and her¹ family

liked

me a lot.

SINGLE PRONOUN CHECK

Diana

I   (OK)

got along

 

well.  (sounds OK)

 

They  (OK)

Jen

went

on a group date.

She  (OK)

Her family

liked

me a lot.

 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

¹ her family does not change because her is a possessive.

you takes the same form as a subject (nominal) or object (accusative) pronoun.

Parts of Speech: N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adv – adverb; PP – prepositional phrase;

 

 

 

 

 

Double Personal Pronouns

As Object of a Preposition

 

 

 

Double Personal Pronouns as Object of a Preposition

INCORRECT

Some speakers use subject (nominative) pronouns —I, she, he, they, or we as the object of a preposition —for, about, between, with, to, like, before, after, etcThis usage sounds bad and is ungrammatical.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT 
NP V NP + PP / PP

* I

had

a good feeling about she and I.  

* My family

could see

her with my son and I.

*Something good

is happening

between he and I.      

SINGLE PRONOUN CHECK

I

had

a good feeling about *she.  

a good feeling about *I.  

My family

could see

her with my son.  

her with *I.  

Something good

is happening

(between) with *he.  

(between) with *I.  

CORRECT

Educated speakers use an object (accusative) pronoun—me, her, him, them, or us as the object of a preposition. Note that you should mention yourself last when more than one person is mentioned as the object.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
NP V NP + PP / PP

I

had

a good feeling about her and me.

My family

could see

her with my son and me.

Something good

is happening

between him and me.

SINGLE PRONOUN CHECK

I

had

a good feeling about her(OK)

a good feeling about me. (OK)

My family

could see

her with my son.

her with me(OK)

Something good

is happening

(between) with him.  (OK)

(between) with me.  (OK)

 

*Incorrect usage and it sounds bad.

between – relates two items ; use with instead.

Also see Pop-Q "Bachelor", Pop-Q "Ali and I's", and Like you and I

 

 

"In my experience, people treat "I " like the formal pronoun and 'me' as the casual one. You should use your best pronoun if you are appearing on TV.   ;-) "
– Amy, Dallas, TX. explaining why participants on "The Bachelor" TV show tend to switch subject and object pronouns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*This is a great experience for people like her and I.

*This is a great experience for young people, such as she and I, who want to find a mate.

*This is a great experience for young people, such as her and me, who want to find a mate.

*This is a great experience for young people, for example her and me, who want to find a mate.

*People, such as she and I, have not found a mate.

These are awkward sounding. Rephrase with like.)

SOLUTION

This is a great experience for people like her and me. 

Use the object (accusative) pronoun after like.

*This is a great experience for young people, like her and me, who want to find a mate.

*This is a great experience for young people, like her and me, who want to find a mate.

*People, such as she and I, have not found a mate. awkward

If you must use a supplementary comment with an example—for example, for instance, such as, namely, etc— use the object (accusative) pronoun after it.

 

We normally use the accusative pronoun after like and such as. Also see For example.   (Huddleston 1156)

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Between you and I

 

 

 

Comments on the Subject of "You and I"

Between you and me. 1. The nation is divided in its use of between you and me and between you and I.  Let me begin by declaring that the only admissible construction of the two in standard use in the 20C. is between you and me.  (Burchfield 106)

 

Between you and I. "What is this between you and I… and where did it come from?" — Simon 1980.
Everybody knows between you and I is wrong, but it occurred in the past and it occurs now, apparently mostly in speech.  Examples, in print, especially recent ones, are hard to find. There seems to be a need for someone to study binary units like you and I, he and I, he and Brian to see if they behave differently from single units…
Conclusion: you are probably safe in retaining between you and I in your casual speech…but you had better avoid it in essays and other words of a discursive nature. If you use it, someone is sure to notice and disparage your character, background , or education. (Merriam-Webster 181-3)

C. Between you and me; *between you and I.
Because the pronouns following between are objects of the preposition, the correct phrase is between you and me. Yet the phrasing *between you and I is appallingly common — "a grammatical error of unsurpassable grossness," as one commentator puts it.  Interestingly, this grammatical error is committed almost exclusively  by educated speakers trying a little to hard to sound refined but stumbling badly. It's almost surely an in grained instance of hyper-correction based on childhood admonitions not to use you and me ( or similar compounds) as the subject of the sentence — and, far more confusing to most people, as a predicate nominative in sentences such as It is I.  — (Garner 102)

Language Change Index 2: widely shunned (The form spreads to a significant fraction of the language community but remains unacceptable in standard English.)

The technical term for avoiding one grammar trap only to fall into another is hyper-correction… mentioned as a cause or reinforcement of between you and I… (Merriam-Webster 181)

 

Grammatical Functions: Subject – (Subj) the agent of the action; Predicate/Predicator – (Pred) the action or change in state; Complement – Comp  –  an element required to complete the subject and predicate; Adjunct – an element not required by the verb, a modifying word, phrase, clause; Supplement – a comment in the form of a word, phrase or clause that is loosely related to the central idea of the sentence.

Lexical Categories "Parts of Speech": N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; Adv – adverb; AdvP – adverb phrase; P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase; Det – determiners –  noun markers (e.g., articles, quantifiers, demonstratives, possessives); Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator; Interj – interjection; INF – infiniitve: GER – gerund; Nonfinite: an infinitive or gerund clause

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Old Friends

Old friends
 

 

Complete the sentence with the pronoun (formal use).

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

A Design Idea

foam tubes
foam tubes
 

 

Read for Errors

My classmate, Andy, and I had to do a project for our design class. So we decided to come up with a solution to the problem of having our doors dented while our car is parked in a parking lot.  We thought about the problem and designed a light-weight plastic air tube to surround the car. Me and Andy took the tube to a crowded parking lot and asked people if they would use our invention. One guy told Andy and I that the tube would fall off too easily. So me and Andy changed the design to cover just the mid-part of the sides of the car. Another woman told us that it was a good idea, but that it was too easy to steal. Andy and I made some changes.

He and I put some magnetic strips inside foam tubes and attached them to the doors. It worked very well. Additionally, me and him figured out a way to put a security cable through the foam tubes and attach it to the door handle. Then, me and Andy went back to the crowded parking lot with our newest design and asked people what they thought. Immediately, everyone who saw Andy and I's door protection system asked us how much it cost and if they could buy one. At that moment, we knew our design was a winner. For Andy and I who are just high school students, this was exciting. We took our project to class and received an excellent grade.

come up with (v.) – invent, create, think of

foam (n.) – a soft sponge-like material

magnetic strips (n.) – long piece of material with the + and - attraction of a magnet

security cable (n.) – rope-like metal tie

solution (n.) – a way to fix or correct a problem

 

 

 

Edit for errors

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

16.
My classmate, Andy, and I had to do a project for our design class.  So we decided to come up with a solution to the problem of having our doors dented while our car is parked in a parking lot.


17.
We thought about the problem and designed a light-weight plastic air tube to surround the car.  Me and Andy took the tube to a crowded parking lot and asked people if they would use our invention.


18.
One guy told Andy and I that the tube would fall off too easily. So me and Andy changed the design to cover just the mid-part of the sides of the car.


19.
Another woman told us that it was a good idea, but that it was too easy to steal.  Andy and I made some changes.


20.
Him and I put some magnetic strips inside foam tubes and attached them to the doors.  It worked very well.


21.
Additionally, me and him figured out a way to put a security cable through the foam tubes and attach it to the door handle.


22.
Then, me and Andy went back to the crowded parking lot with our newest design and asked people what they thought. 


23.
Immediately, everyone who saw Andy and I's door protection system asked us how much it cost and if they could buy one. 


24.
For Andy and I who are just high school students, this was exciting.  We took our project to class and received an excellent grade.