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Suppose two persons from different countries are talking with each other.

How can I combine the following two sentences

"I fight for myself. You fight for yourself."

... and make a single sentence without changing the meaning?

  • (?) Both I and you fight for ourselves.
  • (?) Both I and you fight for themselves.
  • (?) Both I and you fight for oneself.

Logically the first sentence seems to work, but on second thought I feel it looks like "you" are betraying his/her country and fighting for "my" country... Is this the case?

Modifying a little bit using "each", "respectively" or something like that will help?

If I give up using this structure, what is the best way to simply describe this idea?

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Both I and you fight for ourselves is correct, yes, but in sentences like these, you usually start with the other person, just out of respect. So it would be:

Both you and I fight for ourselves.

It doesn't necessarily mean that you are fighting for the same nation/cause. It simply means you are surviving your own battles. Even two enemies on a different side in war could make such a statement.

  • This is of course highly contentious, but "both you and me fight for ourselves" seems much more natural to me. – curiousdannii Jun 16 '14 at 6:38
  • @curiousdannii "me" is an object, "I" is a subject. – Barmar Jun 16 '14 at 6:39
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    @Barmar I am aware! But just because "Both you and I/me" is the subject of the sentence does not mean that the embedded pronoun should therefore have nominative case. – curiousdannii Jun 16 '14 at 6:40
  • The usual rule of thumb is making the sentence singular and testing how it would sound without the 'you'. In this case 'Me fight for myself' is obviously wrong (unless you're writing in a dialect of some kind), so 'I' would seem to be more appropriate. – ElendilTheTall Jun 16 '14 at 7:04
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    @curiousdannii is pointing out that actual usage in English is a lot more fluid than classicizing prescriptive grammar would lead one to believe - in actual usage, the "I"/"me" distinction may actually be something different from the nominative / accusative distinction you see in ego / me . Personally, I would always say "You and I each fight for ourselves," and prescribe that as "correct," but I recognize that there is a linguistic (as opposed to grammatical in the sense of "the rules of a grammarian") argument for "You and me." – outis nihil Jun 16 '14 at 21:50
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I recommend changing it to use each:

We each fight for ourselves.
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When you combine clauses together sometimes it's best to change the words used. You already did that by changing 'myself' and 'yourself' into 'ourselves', so why not change 'I' and 'you' into 'us'?

Both of us fight for ourselves.

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