"Me" Versus "I"

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hopechest

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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?
 

RonBee

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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:
 

hopechest

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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*
 

RonBee

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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
 

charlsie

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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. :)
 

charlsie

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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. :roll: :)
 

rewboss

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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.
 

riverkid

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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 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/articles/media/1994_01_24_thenewrepublic.html



333333333333
 

rewboss

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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.
 

riverkid

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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.
 
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rewboss

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Note though, that he actually explains his position. Rewboss, all you're doing is simply assuming that the prescriptive position is the right one.

No, Pinker uses a flawed analogy to explain his position, which weakens his argument considerably.

I do not -- please note this, because it is something you seem to have difficulty grasping: I do not -- simply assume that the "prescriptive position is the right one".

Pinker is not wrong. The distinction between "I" and "me" is the last remaining bastion of the old English case system which has broken down and is, if current trends are anything to go by, destined to die out altogether.

However, the fact remains that in this generation, people will judge you on your use of grammar. That may well be narrow-minded of the people who do that, but it does nevertheless happen. Since none of my students are potential political candidates who can launch their careers by wowing ordinary people and party functionaries with their magnificent rhetoric and natural charm, overriding any niggles about grammatical niceties, but instead have to write letters to prospective employers who may have old-fashioned (and, yes, ill-conceived and often plain wrong) ideas about grammar, I take the pragmatic approach.

Well, actually I don't have to. I teach Germans mostly, and the German case system is alive and well; the construction "between you and I" sounds completely stupid to them in any case. I just don't go out of my way to teach them what to them would be a bewildering and nonsensical rule, just another exception for them to learn.

Pragmatically:

"between you and me" -> never wrong
"between you and I" -> a sign of illiteracy in some people's eyes

Unfair? Yes. Can we do anything about it? No.

Let the language develop at its own pace. It won't progress any faster just because you think it should.
 

riverkid

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No, Pinker uses a flawed analogy to explain his position, which weakens his argument considerably.

You just keep saying so, but you have made no attempt to explain why.

I do not -- please note this, because it is something you seem to have difficulty grasping: I do not -- simply assume that the "prescriptive position is the right one".

I find this rather humorous, Rewboss. You often go to great lengths defending the prescriptivist position, often on generalities alone, as in this posting. What's so astounding is that you now note that their position is suspect, at the least, but still you defend their right to continue misleading.

Pinker is not wrong. The distinction between "I" and "me" is the last remaining bastion of the old English case system which has broken down and is, if current trends are anything to go by, destined to die out altogether.

However, the fact remains that in this generation, people will judge you on your use of grammar. That may well be narrow-minded of the people who do that, but it does nevertheless happen. Since none of my students are potential political candidates who can launch their careers by wowing ordinary people and party functionaries with their magnificent rhetoric and natural charm, overriding any niggles about grammatical niceties, but instead have to write letters to prospective employers who may have old-fashioned (and, yes, ill-conceived and often plain wrong) ideas about grammar, I take the pragmatic approach.

Well, actually I don't have to. I teach Germans mostly, and the German case system is alive and well; the construction "between you and I" sounds completely stupid to them in any case. I just don't go out of my way to teach them what to them would be a bewildering and nonsensical rule, just another exception for them to learn.

Your prescriptive nature sneaking in again. Language is full of exceptions and one would think that you'd want to set the record straight about the most "flagrant" ones.

Pragmatically:

"between you and me" -> never wrong
"between you and I" -> a sign of illiteracy in some people's eyes

Unfair? Yes. Can we do anything about it? No.

Let the language develop at its own pace. It won't progress any faster just because you think it should.

It always amazes me that otherwise thinking folk can keep passing on this old tale. First, there is little, actually nothing more than anecdotal, scratch that, likely only repeats of this Chicken Little story, but it just keeps cropping up time after time.

And that you can, should suggest that this is unfair, but that we should allow these falsehoods to continue, your words, not mine, is absolutely astounding.

You asked, "Can we do anything about it?" and then took the easy, yet lazy approach and answered "No".

Yet, you took a proactive step in setting Anglika straight on the may/can issue. [I forgot to thank you for it, so thank you very much] Why would you not take that same approach across the board and deal honestly and straight up with every person who spreads falsehoods on language?

I'm more than willing to let language proceed at its own pace. Descriptivists are hardly the group seeking to prevent that. Can you not see the hypocrisy in what you've suggested?

Let those things that are "standard" be standard; there's nothing wrong with describing things in that fashion. But this "who speak correct standard English"; "it's just bad English."; and other such nonsensical things that often arise, yes, even here on this board, are just completely out of place for a language site that obviously is dedicated to finding the best information for students.
 
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rewboss

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Wha...?

Seriously, this is getting beyond a joke.

I am getting pretty darn tired of having to explain to you over and over again exactly what my position is, and yet you continue to set up straw men.

A case in point. I point out that, for my students, if I tell them that when two pronouns are coordinated native speakers use whatever case they damn well wish, but that that's not the case if you only have one pronoun, they will interpret that as an extra rule for them to learn, and one which, to them, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And then you tell me that I'm the one forcing nonsensical rules on them. Even if I taught them this... well, if it's not a rule I haven't clue what it is... if I taught them this and managed to do it without confusing the hell out of them in the process, they'd never obey that... whatever you call it... because it would be totally unnatural to them. They will continue to say "between you and me" because it exactly parallels what happens in German and -- and here's the point -- no native English speaker would see anything wrong with that.

So why teach them a... whatever... which to them is both confusing and totally unnecessary? And which, in the real world we actually live and work in, may even disadvantage them.

For somebody who sets such great store by descriptive grammar, you're being extremely prescriptive about it: if I don't teach my students what you, personally, believe to be correct, you say I'm spreading "falsehoods". How prescriptive can you get? I mean, how, exactly, am I making it harder for my students to learn English?

As for Pinker using a flawed analogy: If you're asking me why I think his analogy is flawed, I think it's flawed because he assumes that case and number behave in the same way; but that's by no means proven, and in no language I have ever studied is it so. They actually perform completely different functions, so it's hardly reasonable to think that what is true of number is automatically true of case.

And as for the can/may distinction, you may notice that I managed to argue my point without belittling Anglika or accusing her of spreading falsehoods or sleeping in class. It was hardly a proactive step on my part either: in my experience, hardly anyone these days insists on "may" for permission; but enough people insist on the "you and I/me" distinction to make it irresponsible of me to pretend otherwise.

"Between you and I" will soon become as acceptable as "Can I...?" is today. I'm not holding that back, but neither am I vain enough to believe that I can make it happen any faster. I teach that which will best serve the interests of my students: they demand it, the people paying for their lessons demand it, and the schools I work for demand it. I'm not putting them at a potential disadvantage on an obscure point of principle.
 

iconoclast

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It's me vs. It is I

Methinks that William the Conqueror and Doctor Johnson are to blame for all this, despite Pinker's valiant but unconvincing effort to enlighten us. In French, you have to say 'C'est moi' - literally: It's me - with 'moi' being neither subject pronoun 'je' nor object pronoun 'me', as in 'Je t'aime', 'Tu m'aimes'. Unfortumately, 'moi' was (I think) the old dative pronoun - at any rate you have to use it after prepositions, as in 'avec moi' (with me), 'sans toi' (without you) - so how it came to serve as a free-standing pronoun beats me, but the correct one-word answer to 'Qui l'a fait?' (Who did it?) is 'Moi' (Me).

No one might have worried had Dr Johnson and his Classics-drenched pals not put a spanner in the works by insisting that after the verb 'be' subject pronoun must be used, for that's how it is in Latin, bequeathing to us the likes of 'It is I' - similar to German 'Ich bin es' (lit: I am it), something like which the pre-Conquest English must have said. Luckily, today we're only likely to hear this unnatural construct when it's uttered Pythonesquely tongue in cheek, but mighty damage has been wrought in the meantime, with much ink and breath wasted on the subjective and objective cases, on masculine pronouns and possessive adjectives being impossibly impersonal, on prepositions not ending sentences, on the infinitive's unsplittability, and what have you.

In the 20th century, Fowler in his Dictionary of Modern English Usage gave advice that was not only witty but also common-sense, but unfortunately he's been swamped by the language mavens Pinker - rightly - loves to deride. However, so far no one's mentioned hypercorrection as a cause of 'between you and I'. À la Pinker, we know that no one would ever say 'without I' or 'before I', but, having lost the feel for case in 'between you and me', they find it unnatural- and wrong-sounding, and cast about for and come up with a right-sounding alternative. Et voilà - 'between you and I' it is! Personally, I still like old-fashioned 'between you and me', but then I also think Standard English should be 'Has everybody brought their book?', so what do I know?
 

nhazean

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hint: substitute me with us and I with we...

"Us are friends? NO
We are friends? YES
Irene and I are friends."

"Between us? YES
Between we? NO
I just want things back to normal between Irene and I."

This page explains it well:
I vs Me - e Learn English Language
 

Jaskin

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Hello,

wow :-D I've learnt a lot; thanks.

Anyway I think there still will be a distinction in meaning in some cases between using the ME and I; Especially after THAN

You treated her better than me.
You treated her better than I.

She needs to talk to Joe or/and me.
She needs to talk to Joe or/and I.

Cheers
 
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Charlie Bernstein

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I prefer between Irene and me, because it sounds better.

:wink:

The rule I learned (fifty years ago) was that me and I always go last: Irene and me.

It still makes sense to me. Doesn't "she and I" sound better than "I and she"?
 
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