Thank you for initiating the opportunity for Bob and me to talk.

  • When conjoined in the object of a preposition, use the objective form (me). You wouldn't say for I to talk with Bob -- you'd say me, right? Same here. – John Lawler Apr 29 '15 at 19:04
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    Note that you generally only run into this confusion when there is another party involved, and he is (in the polite style) listed first. If you remove "Bob and" then you should still have a valid sentence. This is a simple test you can do when you're unsure. – Hot Licks Apr 29 '15 at 23:10

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Use 'I' as a subject. Use 'me' as an object. In your example, you would use 'me.' Both 'Bob' and 'me' are the objects of the preposition 'for.' ('to talk' is a separate infinitive phrase.)

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  • To talk would be an infinitive phrase with Bob and me as the actors. – ScotM Apr 29 '15 at 21:32
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    @ScotM Good catch about the infinitive. I must admit I am not as well versed in infinitives as other parts of grammar, but I still think Bob and me is the object. Even with the infinitive acting as the verb, it is the verb of the phrase that serves as the prepositional object. So... Bob and me is both a subject and an object at the same time...? Now I'm confused. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Apr 29 '15 at 21:42
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    That "dual role" seems to be the reason that some native speakers would choose Bob and I, while some would choose Bob and me :-), but as you indicated, the best choice would be Bob and me. – ScotM Apr 29 '15 at 21:50

The matter seems to be clear-cut. It is indisputably ungrammatical to say:

Thank you for initiating the opportunity for I to talk.

So surely it is equally ungrammatical to say:

Thank you for initiating the opportunity for Bob and I to talk.

It has to be:

Thank you for initiating the opportunity for Bob and me to talk.

But Huddleston and Pullum in the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language take a more nuanced stance. Here is a lengthy extract from their Preliminaries chapter (p9-10):

Another kind of illegitimate argument is based on analogy between one area of grammar and another. Consider yet another construction where there is variation between nominative and accusative forms of pronouns:

[3] a. They invited me to lunch.

[3] b.% They invited my partner and I to lunch.

The ‘%’ symbol is again used to mark the B example as typically used by some speakers of Standard English but not others, though this time it is not a matter of regional variation. The status of the construction in B differs from that of It’s me, which is undisputedly normal in informal use, and from that of !Me and Kim saw her leave, which is unquestionably non-standard.

What is different is that examples like B are regularly used by a significant proportion of speakers of Standard English, and not generally thought by ordinary speakers to be non-standard; they pass unnoticed in broadcast speech all the time.

Prescriptivists, however, condemn the use illustrated by 3b, insisting that the ‘correct’ form is They invited my partner and me to lunch. And here again they seek to justify their claim that 3b is ungrammatical by an implicit analogy, this time with other situations found in English, such as the example seen in A. In A the pronoun functions by itself as direct object of the verb and invariably appears in accusative case. What is different in B is that the direct object of the verb has the form of a coordination, not a single pronoun. Prescriptivists commonly take it for granted that this difference is irrelevant to case assignment. They argue that because we have an accusative in A we should also have an accusative in B, so the nominative I is ungrammatical.

But why should we simply assume that the grammatical rules for case assignment cannot differentiate between a coordinated and a non-coordinated pronoun? As it happens, there is another place in English grammar where the rules are sensitive to this distinction – for virtually all speakers, not just some of them:

4 a. I don’t know if you’re eligible.

4 b. I don’t know if she and you’re eligible.

The sequence you are can be reduced to you’re in A, where you is subject, but not in B, where the subject has the form of a coordination of pronouns.

This shows us not only that a rule of English could apply differently to pronouns and coordinated pronouns, but that one rule actually does. If that is so, then a rule could likewise distinguish between 3a and 3b. The argument from analogy is illegitimate. Whether 3b is treated as correct Standard English or not (a matter that we take up in Ch. 5, §16.2.2), it cannot be successfully argued to be incorrect simply by virtue of the analogy with 3a.

And indeed there are numerous examples on Google of the "for x and I" construction:

It was so much fun for Bob and I to see each other as grandparents.

For Bob and I it was the happiest day of our 25 years together.

This has been a step of faith for Bob and I to go so far from home for so long ... .

He had work for Bob and I to do.

This has been a terrific day for Bob and I ... .

For Bob and I the scheduled arrival time from Padang and departure time to Taipei differ by 3 hours 40 minutes.

It took a while for Bob and I to get control of our big sticks.

I doubt, however, that many of the "for x and I" users were knowingly "differentiat(ing) between a coordinated and a non-coordinated pronoun". The examples seem more likely to result from hyper-correction, based on dim recollections of their English teachers castigating them for constructions such as "Bob and me went swimming".

In my opinion, rather more people are likely to consider "for Bob and I" a mistake than "for Bob and me". But the choice is yours.

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    How do they define 'Standard English'? – Edwin Ashworth Apr 29 '15 at 21:45
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    @Edwin, On page 10 they state that Standard English is the "kind of English that is widely accepted in the countries of the world where English is the language of government, education, broadcasting, entertainment, and other public discourse." Widely accepted is a nicely slippery concept, but I doubt that the "for x and I" construction is widely accepted in these fields. The occasions that I encounter this usage in my educational institution is when a colleague (usually an administrator) is striving to sound authoritative: Please be reminded to inform Bob or I before Friday. – Shoe May 1 '15 at 6:49
  • For them, it's shoddy. For anyone, it's shoddy. (The 'definition'.) For you and I, the usage is a hypercorrection. When I hear it on the BBC, I'm tempted to change channels on principle. – Edwin Ashworth May 1 '15 at 7:35

You could rewrite this: Thank you for initiating the opportunity for Bob and me to talk.

as: Thank you for initiating the opportunity for Bob and for me to talk.

When 'for' means 'because', you can write 'for I'.

For I know the plans I have for you,

For I know you are as much in love as I am

,for I see no money return for the pursuit.

Just put "for I (any verb)" in a search engine!

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