We are basing today’s lesson on two related statements recently made by Liquorose, one of the competitors in the Big Brother Naija show. The expressions are important to us because they harbour a common grammatical tendency that many of us need to check.
While talking about another housemate, Michael, Liquorose had said:
I and Michael are bonding.
I see me and Michael as 5 and 6.
The construction to watch in the clauses is ‘I and Michael’ as well as ‘me and Michael’. As common as the combinations are, they are problematic. When you need to refer to yourself and others, whether through the use of nouns or pronouns, others should come first, and you last. It is a kind of courtesy that English grammar demands, but which is often overlooked. Some of us should be able to recall that we have, on some occasions, treated this concept in this class.
I and Michael are bonding
The issue with this is that ‘Michael’ ought to come before ‘I’, with the reason bordering on politeness. Again, note that when you have a compound subject or object involving your name and another person’s, it is ideal to first refer to the other person:
I and Jim will sit here. (No!)
Jim and I will sit here.
It is about me and Kunle. (No!)
It is about Kunle and me.
The two pairs of examples above show that the rule applies whether the combination is performing the function of a subject or object. In ‘Jim and I will sit here’, it is the subject, while it is the object in It is about ‘Kunle and me’.
I see me and Michael as 5 and 6
I hope you can already spot the error in this, based on the explanation provided above. As ‘Kunle’ comes before ‘me’, ‘Michael’ too should come before ‘me’ in the Liquorose’s statement:
I see Michael and me as 5 and 6.
Consider these other examples:
I and Angel are still in the house. (No!)
Angel and I are still in the house.
The collabo is between me and Wizkid. (No!)
The collabo is between Wizkid and me.
Especially for the purpose of our ever dear WASSCE, NECO and JAMB candidates, let’s attempt these two questions:
(i) They gave the money to …
(a) him and me (b) me and he (c) he and me (d) me and him
(ii) … should not be quarrelling.
(a) Me and you (b) You and me (c) I and you (d) You and I
What are your answers? Mine are options A and D:
They gave the money to him and me.
You and I should not be quarrelling.