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“Me and my wife” or “my wife and me”

I keep seeing that it's just courtesy to put yourself last in a list of nouns. eg. "They went to the game with Sally and me" instead of "They went to the game with me and Sally".

Is there an official rule somewhere that says this? All i'm finding is people just saying that's the case

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marked as duplicate by jwpat7, kiamlaluno, T.E.D., coleopterist, MετάEd Aug 7 '12 at 18:57

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Is it always more courteous? Which of: "Yes, Dennis and I were the ones who hit that softball through your window" or "Yes, I and Dennis were the ones who hit that softball through your window" is more polite to Dennis? – Peter Shor Aug 7 '12 at 17:58
There are no 'official rules' about anything in English. – Barrie England Aug 7 '12 at 18:01
possible duplicate of "Me and my wife" or "my wife and me" and also see question #53390 and question #1133 – jwpat7 Aug 7 '12 at 18:15
@BarrieEngland - Of course that qualifies as a rule too. If that were to be a rule, by its own logic it is false. If its false, then somewhere there is actually at least one official rule. Now we just have to figure out what it is. – T.E.D. Aug 7 '12 at 18:44
@T.E.D. Aha! The Cretan liar paradox. But what I posted isn't a rule. It's just my opinion. – Barrie England Aug 7 '12 at 19:03

I don't think it is an "official" rule of the English language, but "They came with Sally and me" is much more common than "They came with me and Sally."

It's the same thing when you are describing yourself and others in the subject version such as: "The family and I went to the baseball game."

rather than

"I and the family went to the baseball game."

When I was taught this it was under the premise that it was the social convention to list others before yourself. It sounds incorrect when you say it the other way.

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As a native English speaker, I've always learned that it's more polite to put yourself last in a list of people. I don't have any official sources to back that up, but it helps that mentioning yourself last is more grammatically correct.

For example, aside from putting yourself first, 'I and Rob' is not a proper phrase as far as I know- if it is, it's one so rarely used that people will find it extremely jarring.

When the group of people including you is the subject of the phrase, list the people first followed by 'and I'. When the group is the subject, it's all the other people plus 'and me'. It's worth noting that even though many people will say 'and myself' instead of 'and me'-usually to sound more formal- this is technically not correct.

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As another native English speaker, I find "I've always learned" to be a very odd construction. Usually one only learns something once - I'm having trouble seeing how you could repeatedly learn the same specific thing. – FumbleFingers Aug 7 '12 at 19:03
Hah, good point. My opinion (and this is how I use the saying) would be that if you say "I've always learned", you're saying that you've heard the rule or had the lesson taught to you (or other people nearby) multiple times from multiple sources, and that it has been the same each time. It's a way of expressing that you've heard something repeated so many times to the point that you wouldn't be able to remember where exactly you first heard it-- you just take it for granted. – Jesse M Aug 7 '12 at 19:15
I'm sure the exact way people use these words will vary across locations, social categories, etc. I don't say your usage is wrong - if you're a native speaker, and that's what you say, nobody can really argue with it. But I still think I'm well and truly in the majority on this one. Paging through Google Books results for "I have always learned that", it tops out at just 29. But searching for "I have always been taught that" suggests upwards of 14,000 actual instances. – FumbleFingers Aug 7 '12 at 20:16
I can't argue that, the form "I have always been taught that" is a lot more correct. As a final defence I would say that "I've always learned that" is a lot faster to say and easier on the tongue, but I suppose that form isn't so widespread as I assumed. – Jesse M Aug 8 '12 at 13:01

It's one of those "unwritten rules" of English grammar, that you don't place yourself first in a list of people. To do so is presumptuous and therefore to not do so is deferentially courteous. It's taught in schools but I can't find an authoritative reference saying "you and I" is always correct and that "I and you" is always incorrect.

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KeithS, you have enough rep to vote to close this question as a duplicate; please consider doing so. – jwpat7 Aug 7 '12 at 18:33
Well, you just wrote it, so now its a written rule. After 10 centuries of careful hiding too. I hope you're proud of yourself... – T.E.D. Aug 7 '12 at 18:34
@jwpat7 - sigh Well, I do too, and the other question has better answers, so I've done so. I have to say I really don't understsand why people get so incredibly hyped about closing questions though. There's no real need to go rounding up a question lynch mob. – T.E.D. Aug 7 '12 at 18:37
I think long term site quality is better if there are a few good questions instead of many half-assed ones. – jwpat7 Aug 7 '12 at 18:39
... half-asked – jwpat7 Aug 7 '12 at 18:39

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