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Thread: "Me" Versus "I"

  1. #1
    hopechest is offline Newbie
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    Default "Me" Versus "I"

    I thought this was correct.
    "I just want things back to normal between Irene and I."
    But someone mentioned it should be "Irene and me", however that sounds wrong. If I were to reword it to "me and Irene" then that sounds okay.

    Which is correct? Also, I tend to rely on what "sounds right", having forgotten or perhaps never learned the why's behind it, so what is the general rule on using "I"and "me" in such a manner?

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    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    A noun that follows a preposition should be in the objective case. Thus, it should be either between me and Irene or between Irene and me. I prefer between Irene and me, because it sounds better.

    :wink:

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    hopechest is offline Newbie
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    I think too much.

    A noun that follows a preposition should be in the objective case.
    While in a chat with two friends I brought this up. I didn’t understand what you meant by “objective case”, so I decide to be a geek and interrupt a perfectly pointless conversation with grammar questions.

    Here’s the conversation:
    Friend1: Irene and me is not right. It should be “Irene and I”, but “me and Irene: is right.
    Friend1: wait no…
    Friend2: They all work, it just depends on context.
    Hopechest: I asked at that forum. It's the preposition that makes it "me" rather than "I". I think if it was "Irene and I went to the mall" that might be okay
    Friend1: Yeah. Then it's not right to say “Me and Irene”, or “Irene and me”
    Friend2: Did you guys learn about the "cover up the ‘Irene And ---‘ and you'll find out the thingy"?
    Hopechest: What?
    Friend2: It might be wrong, but it's how I've always judged it.
    Friend2: If you have something like "He gave it to Irene and ____" you cover up Irene and you have “He gave it to ___”
    Friend2: But I think PA was right about the "Irene and Me" not being correct, so it's "He gave it to me and Irene." It has to be the pronoun first.
    Hopechest: Not sure about that.
    Friend1: http://ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/cases.htm#cases
    Hopechest: Here’s the “rule” you’re talking about:
    There is a simple rule here that seems to work very well, at least in writing. Ask yourself what pronoun form you would use without adding the other person — "Grandma left me her rocking chair" (coming up with the correct form for the indirect object) — and then, when you add the other person, don't change the form of the pronoun: "Grandma left Jayden and me her rocking chair."
    Friend1: I get it now. He (friend2) was just unclear.
    Hopechest: Here’s the stuff about the preposition and object pronoun:
    Some writers and speakers will mistakenly say "This is just between Jayden and I," not realizing that the preposition "between" calls for the object form of both pronouns, including "me."
    Hopechest: "me" is an object pronoun?
    Friend2: Okay, here's a general definition:
    Friend2: "pronouns that function as the objects of verbs or prepositions; (e.g., Tony helped me.)
    Hopechest: And you wouldn't say, "Tony helped I"
    Friend2: So yeah, it's me, her, him, etc.
    Friend1: But you would say, “I helped Tony”
    Hopechest: In which case Tony is the objective noun
    Friend1: And subjective pronouns are I, you, he, she, they etc.
    Friend2: [smacks forehead] God, that was simple.
    Hopechest: *laughs*

  4. #4
    RonBee's Avatar
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    That is a good rule to remember. That is, if you would say I if just one person is involved keep it that way if you add another. Or if you would say me if just one person was involved keep it that way if you add another. I think that website explains it quite well.

    I think you've got it.

    :D

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    Default Re: "Me" Versus "I"

    One way to check your usage in this matter is to say the sentence to yourself without the other person. Your sentence is "I just want things back to normal between Irene and I."

    For clarification use the preposition "for" instead of "between.
    You wouldn't say "I just want things back to normal for I". In both sentences you'd say "me".

    It's "I just want things back to normal for me."

    AND it's "I just want things back to normal for Irene and me."

    AND it's "I just want things back to normal between Irene and me."

    "I" is subjective, and "me" is objective; in this case "me" is the object of the prep., "for".

    In every case it's "I" if "I/me" comes before the verb and is the subject, but it's "me" if "I/me" comes after the verb or comes in a prepositional phrase, making it need to be in the objective.

    I believe a lot of the confusion came about because we used to be taught to never say anyone's else's name before ours. It was a matter of courtesy. We were told to say "They went with John and me" rather than "They went with me and John" But that rule was for courtesy. It still should apply.

    (Example: John and I went to town.)

    Now, having put the other person's name first, you still need to decide between I/me. If it's the subject, it's "I"; if it's the object, it's "me". You'd say "Ben took John and me to town". Leave John out and check it out by saying "Ben took I/me to town". You can see that it should be "Ben took me" not "Ben took I".
    Unfortunately, many, many people, including news people are now in the habit of using the subjective "I" inside a prepositional phrase where the objective "me" is needed, thinking it sounds "classier" somehow. It doesn't.

    Oddly enough, though this is clear to me, I can see that my explanation isn't as clear as I'd hoped it would be. Please take what you can from it, and, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

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    Default Re: "Me" Versus "I"

    This is funny. It took RonBee a blink of an eye to explain clearly what it took me three pages to explain with a disclaimer.
    Well, I did have one other little point in there, but still......

    I try to be brief, but no luck.

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    Default Re: "Me" Versus "I"

    Three pages, four years and three months...

    Incidentally, there's a surprising amount of discussion about this issue, to do with the fact that languages constantly evolve and change, no matter what you do to try to stop it. Phrases such as "between you and I" are becoming increasingly common, and linguists are pretty certain that in future, the grammar rule will be that subjective pronouns are to be used in this type of construction. The current debate actually centres more around the issue of whether such constructions can already be said to be acceptable in formal English.

    My personal view is that "between you and I" should be avoided in formal situations, since it is still frowned upon by enough people: it can make you look uneducated, while "between you and me" is always acceptable.

  8. #8
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: "Me" Versus "I"


    Probably no "grammatical error" has received as much scorn as "misuse" of pronoun case inside conjunctions (phrases with two parts joined by [and] or [or]). What teenager has not been corrected for saying [Me and Jennifer are going to the mall]? The standard story is that the object pronoun [me] does not belong in subject position -- no one would say [Me is going to the mall] -- so it should be [Jennifer and I]. People tend to misremember the advice as "When in doubt, say 'so-and-so and I', not 'so-and-so and me'," so they unthinkingly overapply it, resulting in hyper-corrected solecisms like [give Al Gore and I a chance] and the even more despised [between you and I].



    But if the person on the street is so good at avoiding [Me is going] and [Give I a break], and even former Rhodes Scholars and Ivy League professors can't seem to avoid [Me and Jennifer are going] and [Give Al and I a chance], might it not be the mavens that misunderstand English grammar, not the speakers? The mavens' case about case rests on one assumption: if an entire conjunction phrase has a grammatical feature like subject case, every word inside that phrase has to have that grammatical feature, too. But that is just false.



    [Jennifer] is singular; you say [Jennifer is], not [Jennifer are]. The pronoun [She] is singular; you say [She is], not [She are]. But the conjunction [She and Jennifer] is not singular, it's plural; you say [She and Jennifer are], not [She and Jennifer is.] So a conjunction can have a different grammatical number from the pronouns inside it. Why, then, must it have the same grammatical [case] as the pronouns inside it? The answer is that it need not. A conjunction is just not grammatically equivalent to any of its parts. If John and Marsha met, it does not mean that John met and that Marsha met. If voters give Clinton and Gore a chance, they are not giving Gore his own chance, added on to the chance they are giving Clinton; they are giving the entire ticket a chance. So just because [Al Gore and I] is an object that requires object case, it does not mean that [I] is an object that requires object case. By the logic of grammar, the pronoun is free to have any case it wants.

    http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articl...wrepublic.html
    333333333333

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    Default Re: "Me" Versus "I"

    Thank you, Mr. Pinker. But I still wouldn't, at this point, advise ESLs to follow Pinker's advice as it can put them at a severe disadvantage in the real world, at least for a generation or two to come.

    I will say, though, that Pinker makes a grave error in trying to explain case by analogy with number. The concepts are related, but not that closely. His observation is sound, but his attempts at providing a grammatical justification are logically flawed.

  10. #10
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: "Me" Versus "I"

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    Thank you, Mr. Pinker. But I still wouldn't, at this point, advise ESLs to follow Pinker's advice as it can put them at a severe disadvantage in the real world, at least for a generation or two to come.

    Trot out the old "some people will judge you harshly for ..." .

    It doesn't seem to have caused any problem whatsoever for Bill Clinton or the numerous other scholars who use these type of structures, Rewboss.

    You know, in my whole life, and it's been longer than I care to relate, I've never heard anyone remark on this to anyone, ever. It has all the force of Chicken Little.


    I will say, though, that Pinker makes a grave error in trying to explain case by analogy with number. The concepts are related, but not that closely. His observation is sound, but his attempts at providing a grammatical justification are logically flawed.
    Note though, that he actually explains his position. Rewboss, all you're doing is simply assuming that the prescriptive position is the right one. Given their track record that's much too much to assume.
    Last edited by riverkid; 15-Feb-2008 at 00:13.

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