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It is better to write this:

Only three people signed up: you, Jim, and I.

than this:

Only three people signed up: you, me, and Jim.

Because "I" is a subject and not an object.

But what if I want the stress to come at the end, e.g.:

Only three people signed up: you, me and "thehulk66".

Grammatically correct would be:

Only three people signed up: you, I, and "thehulk66".

but it sounds jarring and takes the focus away from my intent, which is to indicate that I think it is funny that there is a person named "thehulk66" who has signed up to our little group.

So what would be the best way to write this?

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Do you mean this as a poll, or as a scientific question what is more correct? If it's a poll, I'm all for Only three people signed up: you, me and "thehulk66". –  Pekka 웃 Aug 12 '10 at 23:10
    
well it is one of those edge cases, so I know that the grammatically correct answer is ...you, I, and "thehulk66" but this sounds awkward so I'm looking for a new way to phrase it to (a) avoid the grammar mistake and (b) keeps stress on "thehulk66". –  Edward Tanguay Aug 12 '10 at 23:31
    
The grammatically correct way is 'you, me and "thehulk66"', not 'you, I and "thehulk66". Nohat is correct. –  mwotton Dec 21 '10 at 10:50
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Generally, the rule used in English for pronouns is that you always use the objective form of a pronoun, unless the pronoun is the subject of a verb. If it’s the subject of a verb, then you use the subjective form (I, you, he, she, it, we, they). In all other cases—as the object of a verb, as the object of a preposition, or non-sententially—use the objective form (me, you, him, her, it, us, them). For example, the grammatical answer to the question “Who wants cookies?” is “ME!” not “I!”. By “non-sentential”, I mean pronouns standing alone, or in a list, but which are not related to verbs.

In the examples in OP’s question, the pronouns are used in a non-sentential list context—they are neither the subjects nor objects of a verb, so the objective case is the case that would be used.

Of course a lot of people get anxious about pronouns conjoined by and and think that it is always correct to use subjective forms, resulting in such hypercorrected monstrosities like “Give it to Jim and I”. I find using subjective pronouns alone to be just as monstrously ungrammatical as using them as the objects of prepositions or verbs: imagine someone answering a question “I!”.

As for ordering, it is traditional to list the first person last, in a kind of grammatical modesty, so I would say “Only three people signed up: you, Jim, and me”, but any ordering seems grammatical to me.

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1  
I thought the rule was much more simple than this: if subject then "me", if object then "I", so "Only three people signed up: you, Jim, and me" breaks this rule, since you would say, "I signed up" not "Me signed up". –  Edward Tanguay Aug 12 '10 at 23:29
    
@Edward, but the key is you don’t say “I signed up”, making the pronoun the subject of a verb; there is just the pronoun, and pronouns standing alone go in the objective case. –  nohat Aug 12 '10 at 23:33
    
@nohat so you are saying that it is correct to say: "four people signed up: him, her, them, and us"? that sounds incorrect, almost like "hillbilly talk", can you point me to a rule on this? –  Edward Tanguay Aug 12 '10 at 23:44
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@Edward I disagree. They are not just abbreviations for longer forms, they are independent short forms of their own. What, exactly, would you propose “me” is short for as an answer to the question “Who wants a cookie?”? –  nohat Aug 13 '10 at 0:30
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I can’t imagine how any native speaker of English would think that “me” as a response to a question is somehow an error. I don’t think we’re going to agree on this. –  nohat Aug 13 '10 at 1:08
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It makes it wordier and a bit clumsier, but you can also use "only three people signed up: a, b, and also c."

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but you would still have the same issue, since it sounds odd to say you, I, and also ... –  Edward Tanguay Aug 12 '10 at 23:33
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Stylistically speaking, I would tend towards "you, me, and 'thehulk66.'" If I were going to try to be grammatically correct, but keep the stress on the last name, I'd go with "you and I and 'thehulk66.'"

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"you, me, and 'thehulk66'" is gramatically correct. Look at Nohat's post. –  Vincent McNabb Aug 13 '10 at 4:16
    
That depends on who your teacher was. Although I'd agree in the general sense of a descriptive grammar it is, I was taught just like @EdwardTanguay first comment and nohat's followup to that makes no sense to me at all. I'd always say "I signed up.". –  user14070 Apr 6 '12 at 15:01
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