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One or Two: The Case Remains the Same

on October 1, 2019 by ProofreadingPal in Writing Guides facebook in twitter

Warning: this blog is really simple.

As an editor and word nerd, I am quite baffled whenever I see or hear the following:

• Me and Dan are going to the movies this afternoon.
• Myself and Cleveland’s City Council welcome you to this assembly.
• Give the information about the suspect to her and I.
• That’s his and I’s ball (or “he and I’s ball”).
• Us fans are going to the championship game tomorrow.

Because I never see (thank goodness):

• Me is going to the movies this afternoon.
• Myself welcomes you to this assembly. (I did a whole blog post on the “myself” issue.)
• Give information about the suspect to I.
• That’s I’s ball.
• Us are going to the championship game tomorrow.

Adding in a second (or third or eighth) subject or object or modifier doesn’t change the case of the subject or object. If you know that the single subject or object or modifier is:

• I am going to the movies this afternoon.
• I welcome you to this assembly.
• Give information about the suspect to me.
• That’s my ball.
• We are going to the championship game tomorrow.

Then you know it’s:

• I and Dan are going to the movies this afternoon. (This is fine, by the way. “Dan and I” might be more usual, but the order doesn’t matter.)
• I and Cleveland’s City Council welcome you to this assembly.
• Give information about the suspect to her and me.
• That’s his and my ball.
• We fans are going to the championship game tomorrow.

The same is also true when you take words away.

• That supermodel is taller than I am. (correct)
• That supermodel is taller than I. (correct)
• That supermodel is taller than me. (incorrect)

• You were running just as fast as he was. (correct)
• You were running just as fast as he. (correct)
• You were running just as fast as him. (incorrect)

There are all kinds of rules to follow in grammar. It’s important to know the difference between a phrase and a clause, a noun and a verb, and so on. But a great many grammar mistakes can be avoided by simply remembering the following:

Subject (doing the verb):

• I, we
• You
• She
• He
• They

Object (being done to by the verb):

• Us
• You
• Her
• Him
• Them

Or, if you like:

I/We/You/She/He/They threw the ball to us/you/her/him/them.

And that’s it.

Reasons?

Now here’s the part where I’d love to have some expert insight into why people say things like:

• All my friends and me want to see the latest Marvel movie.
• They wanted to ask questions about Johan and you’s work.

Even though they know it’s:

• I want to see the latest Marvel movie.
• They wanted to ask questions about your work.

And so it has to be:

• All my friends and I want to see the latest Marvel movie.
• They wanted to ask questions about Johan and your work.

But you know what? I don’t have a clue why these errors have become common. It’s a simple swap-out.

Do you have a suggestion? Leave it in a comment!

Julia H.

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