People-pairs in a sentence are a grammar trap when one of the people is yourself. Then you might stumble over choosing I or me, we or us.
- Should you write Christopher Robin and I?
- Or Christopher Robin and me?
The answer depends on the sentence.
- CORRECT: Christopher Robin and I went to Buckingham Palace.
- CORRECT: The guard winked at Christopher Robin and me.
The I/Me trap is one of the most common grammar mistakes in English.
Here is an easy trick for using the right word.
Expand the sentence so that you repeat the words around each people-word. Then the correct pronoun becomes obvious.
Sometimes you just repeat the starter, as follows.
The guard winked at Christopher Robin and [the guard winked at] I.
WRONG, so I is wrong in the short version too.
The guard winked at Christopher Robin and [the guard winked at] me.
CORRECT, so me is correct in the short version too.
When the people-pair starts the sentence, you just expand the sentence a different way:
Christopher Robin [went to Buckingham Palace] and I went to Buckingham Palace.
CORRECT, so I is correct in the short version too.
Christopher Robin [went to Buckingham Palace] and me went to Buckingham Palace.
WRONG, so me is wrong in the short version too.
Why does this grammatical point trip so many people up?
Not because it's difficult but because of the psychology. We feel strongly about the words me and us.
We are the centre of our personal world, but we don't want to seem self-centred.
I think that's why a phrase like My friend and I sets off alarm bells and makes us trip over the grammar.
The Contented Certificate in Business Writing gives you clever ways to dodge common grammar traps.
This Certificate includes the Painless Grammar course. This popular 1-hour course helps you spot and fix the grammatical errors you make.
In 1924 A.A. Milne wrote this beloved poem, Buckingham Palace, after his son, Christopher Robin, watched the changing guard ceremony at the time of King George V.