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  1. #1
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    Default Proper use of "you and ....."

    I'm writing a business letter, and I am wondering about the way I used a common phrase: "It was very nice meeting you and Bob." Is there a more proper way to write this? Others in my office have suggested, "It was nice meeting Bob and yourself." Maybe I should consider, "It was nice meeting yourself and Bob." I'm not sure what to do.....

    Thank you,
    Confused in MN

  2. #2
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I'm writing a business letter, and I am wondering about the way I used a common phrase: "It was very nice meeting you and Bob." Is there a more proper way to write this? Others in my office have suggested, "It was nice meeting Bob and yourself." Maybe I should consider, "It was nice meeting yourself and Bob." I'm not sure what to do.....

    Thank you,
    Confused in MN
    Why would you want to use "yourself"? "yourself" is not appropriate here because it is a reflexive pronoun and your sentence doesn't call for that. Maybe "you" is particular about correct English and his/her impression of you will change for the worse. Probably "you" is not that fussy about English, but if you like to use a high standard of English don't use "yourself".
    I think your original choice is fine.

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    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Why would you want to use "yourself"? "yourself" is not appropriate here because it is a reflexive pronoun and your sentence doesn't call for that. Maybe "you" is particular about correct English and his/her impression of you will change for the worse. Probably "you" is not that fussy about English, but if you like to use a high standard of English don't use "yourself".
    I think your original choice is fine.
    Again, I must disagree with my learned colleague. Where is it written that reflexive pronouns can only be used in one narrow fashion, 2006? Who is it that has deemed these other uses incorrect?

    Obviously, these are adult users of English and they already know that there are other uses. They just want to have them graded as to respectibility.

    The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language talks of override reflexives, precisely the ones Confused in MN is speaking of.

    CGEL: Override reflexives do not require the close structural link between pronoun and antecedent that characterizes basic reflexives. Indeed they can occur without any antecedent at all in the 1st and 2nd person, as in [5i], ...

    [5] i The draft had been prepared by Ann and myself.

    ...

    Override can also work in the opposite direction, with a non-reflexive form appearing instead of the normal reflexive:

    [6] Why don't you buy something for YOU for a change, instead of spending all your money on your kids?

  4. #4
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    People, including 'academics', can say and write anything they wish, but what is the virtue/logic of saying "The draft had been prepared Ann and myself".? Why invent something called "override reflexives"? It almost sounds like a deliberate effort to promote incorrect/nonstandard English. I guess academics have to write something, or else they are not being very academic.

    We know that some believe there is no such thing as "correct" or "incorrect" English and that almost anything goes, but I don't believe that is the view of most people. Most people believe there are rules of correct English.

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    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I'm writing a business letter, and I am wondering about the way I used a common phrase: "It was very nice meeting you and Bob." Is there a more proper way to write this? Others in my office have suggested, "It was nice meeting Bob and yourself." Maybe I should consider, "It was nice meeting yourself and Bob." I'm not sure what to do.....

    Thank you,
    Confused in MN

    I see no problem in saying "you and Bob" or "Bob and you". I certainly would not use "yourself".

  6. #6
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    People, including 'academics', can say and write anything they wish, but what is the virtue/logic of saying "The draft had been prepared Ann and myself".? Why invent something called "override reflexives"? It almost sounds like a deliberate effort to promote incorrect/nonstandard English. I guess academics have to write something, or else they are not being very academic.
    Let me get this straight, 2006. You want ESLs and ENLs to follow your guidelines simply because you believe that you KNOW what correct English is. Is that what you're saying?


    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    We know that some believe there is no such thing as "correct" or "incorrect" English and that almost anything goes, but I don't believe that is the view of most people. Most people believe there are rules of correct English.
    Another red herring. People who know how language works don't believe for a second, never have EVER thought that "anything goes". When I was ten years old and I knew intuitively that most of these prescriptions were pure crap, I still never thought for a moment that "anything goes".

    "Most" people also once thought that the earth was flat. It isn't, I can assure you.

    Read this, from the linguist, G Pullum, one of the authors of the CGEL.

    And Anglika, as nice a person as you are, and I'm sure you're a gem but what you might use or not use has no relevance to what is language. And even at that, I'd wager that a transcript of your daily speech would surprise you a great deal. See Professor Pullum's remarks.




    And none of the foregoing has anything to do with prescriptive claims about grammar, which are a whole different story. Prescriptivists claim that there are certain rules which have authority over us even if they are not respected as correctness conditions in the ordinary usage of anybody.

    You can tell them, "All writers of English sometimes use pronouns that have genitive noun phrase determiners as antecedents; Shakespeare did; Churchill did; Queen Elizabeth does; you did in your last book, a dozen times" (see here and here for early Language Log posts on this); and they just say, "Well then, I must try even harder, because regardless of what anyone says or writes, the prohibition against genitive antecedents is valid and ought to be respected by all of us."

    To prescriptivists of this sort, there is just nothing you can say, because they do not acknowledge any circumstances under which they might conceivably find that they are wrong about the language. If they believe infinitives shouldn't be split, it won't matter if you can show that every user of English on the planet has used split infinitives, they'll still say that nonetheless it's just wrong.

    That's the opposite insanity to "anything that occurs is correct": it says "nothing that occurs is relevant". Both positions are completely nuts. But there is a rather more subtle position in the middle that isn't. That is the interesting and conceptually rather difficult truth that Zink does not perceive.

    Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at January 26, 2005 12:49 PM
    RK: [Bolded and underlined is my added emphasis]

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    Going back to the context of the OP, would you recommend using over-ride reflexives in a business letter? I wouldn't.

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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    See if the below gives a clear picture:
    Reflexive pronoun "reflects back" to the subject of the sentence and is the object of an action verb, an infinitive, or a preposition.

    For example:

    I gave, myself, a treat.

    In the above sentence, "I" is the subject, "gave" is the action verb and "myself"(which refers to the same person as the subject) is the object of that verb and it reflects back to the subject of the sentence.

    Now let's see this sentence:
    You should buy a gift for your children and yourself.

    In this case again, "You", is the subject and "yourself" is the object.

    In the sentence, It was very nice meeting you and Bob,
    The use of words you and Bob are right,
    because because the subject of the verb in the sentence,is not the same person as the speaker.
    "It" was nice meeting.... which simply means that "I" , "We" or "they", had great pleasure in meeting you.

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    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Going back to the context of the OP, would you recommend using over-ride reflexives in a business letter? I wouldn't.
    That is not the point, Tdol. The following is the point.

    Why would you want to use "yourself"? "yourself" is not appropriate here because it is a reflexive pronoun and your sentence doesn't call for that. Maybe "you" is particular about correct English and his/her impression of you will change for the worse. Probably "you" is not that fussy about English, but if you like to use a high standard of English don't use "yourself".

    I have never suggested that there isn't certain language appropriate to certain situations but why defend inaccurate language information when it's easy and infinitely more accurate to describe exactly how language works. From those descriptions it's then much easier to make the necessary choices.

    By the by, some in that office from the original OP have suggested that using "Bob and yourself" is fine. Are their opinions worth any less than yours, Anglika's or 2006's?

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    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Proper use of "you and ....."

    The original enquirer only wanted to know which would read better in a letter to a business contact!

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