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At the end of the evening, the bar was almost empty, with only [I/?] and a very cheerful and pleasant lady I met in the last minutes of the meeting.

What is the correct form in this case?

My assumption would be to say "I", and also to invert the two subjects, as in the following wrong case, followed by the correct form:

  • (*) me and her went to the pub
  • she and I went to the pub

If my assumption is correct, I have a different problem. I end up with the phrase:

At the end of the evening, the bar was almost empty, with only a very cheerful and pleasant lady I met in the last minutes of the meeting and I.

As you can see, the need to detail information about the lady pushes the "and I" too far to be reasonably meaningful in the context.

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3 Answers

It is as straightforward as this: in English, prepositions never take nominative case (which is what "I" is). Since the pronoun in question is modified by "with" (a preposition), the correct case is definitely accusative "me".

Furthermore, if two or more phrases are connected with a conjunction (like "me and a pleasant lady"), and all of those are treated as one unit that the preposition modifies (as is the case in your example), then every conjoined element in that unit gets the same case distributed throughout. So, with or without the "pleasant lady", the pronoun should be "me".

The use of "myself" is a somewhat recent addition to English. It is likely that this sprang out of people's generally uneasiness in using "me" in any conjoined phrase, because of learning enough about pronouns to know that "me and John are going to the park" is informal and poor English, but not enough to be sure when "me" is okay to use. So "myself" is a way to avoid using "me". This avoidance has become common enough that "myself" is on the verge of being a standard alternate way to express this. (But from a linguistic standpoint, it is quite odd!)

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Part of the problem is that the clause after "with" is not complete. A shorter sentence makes it more obvious: "The house was empty, with only a dog." With only a dog what? I'd re-write is as:

At the end of the evening, the bar was almost empty, with only me and a very cheerful and pleasant lady I met in the last minutes of the evening remaining.

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This is kind of interesting, because what's the subject of remaining? I can't come up with something that should be in the nominative, I don't think. (?) –  Mike Pope Oct 19 '10 at 5:19
    
Yeup I was wondering that when I wrote it. You can say "Only I was remaining," or "The house was almost empty, with only me remaining." it sounds correct... will have to ask this as a question –  Claudiu Oct 19 '10 at 13:31
    
"remaining" is not a participle, not a finite verb. –  Colin Fine Oct 20 '10 at 15:01
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A plausible alternative could be rendered "...and myself." I, personally, would render it as:

I was left alone in the pub at the end of the night with a cheerful and pleasant lady whom I had met during the last minutes of the meeting.

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Agree with the "... and myself." Also agree with the rephrasing. –  khedron Oct 18 '10 at 21:27
    
DISagree with the "...and myself." There is nothing self-reflexive about the use here, so "me" is correct. –  kajaco Oct 21 '10 at 15:43
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