I had a debate with my friend about this topic because he had a photo captioned:

Seth and I playing lion king

and I said it should be

Seth and me playing lion king

Which is correct?

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    Both are used when it is the subject of a sentence; conventional grammar demands "Seth and I". Although your phrase is not a sentence, an ellipsis where this is the subject of the sentence seems the most reasonable. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Apr 6 '13 at 4:39
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    I know it's a similar question but I need an answer for this specific example. – Lachie Robinson Apr 6 '13 at 4:40
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    @tchrist: In English, traditional grammar recommends "I" for subjects. The status of photo labels is debatable, as I said. I haven't studied your dialect. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Apr 6 '13 at 15:39
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    @tchrist: We are clearly talking about different things. English is nothing like French. Read a few style books. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Apr 6 '13 at 16:00
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    @Cerberus If you think native English speakers label things with bare subject pronouns instead of bare object pronouns, then you should stop reading style books and get to know some native speakers instead. – tchrist Apr 6 '13 at 16:03

You can't really insist on one or the other being correct, because you are not working with a complete sentence. I think the best you can do is to recognize that the majority of English speakers would use "Seth and me."

Even if you add the implied initial phrase that would make it an entire sentence ("This is"), you still wind up with some debate. "This is I" is formally correct (i.e "This is Seth and I playing lion king"), but the vast majority of English speakers consider it pompous and awkward, and still would use "me."

  • Your first sentence is best; it depends what you consider the implied words are. 'This is a picture of Seth and I' would be actually wrong ( a classic hypercorrection). – Tim Lymington Apr 6 '13 at 11:11
  • @TimLymington Exactly. If you consider it that way, "Seth and [somebody]" become indirect objects, and "me" becomes correct. – John M. Landsberg Apr 6 '13 at 16:14
  • I'm not even sure that the 'formally correct' label is warranted nowadays. 'Formerly', perhaps. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 19 '16 at 0:11

It has to be “Seth and me playing lion king” as the title of a photo. Imagine it without Seth there at all: you would always, only, and ever label that photo “Me”, never “I”. Since the case of a pronoun never changes when you add in somebody else with an and, we arrive at “Seth and me playing lion king” as the only right answer.

We just had a question about this, but see also this answer for more about English using the object case not the subject case by default.

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