A native English speaker said to her students that "I and my wife have ..." is wrong & we have to say "My wife and I have ..."

Why did she say it's wrong?

  • Technically it's not wrong, what your teacher should have said that it is uncommon to place the pronoun before other people belonging to the same group. E.g "My parents and I", "Peter's friends and I", etc. The sentence she or he recommended is correct, and above all idiomatic.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 5, 2015 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


To a native English speaker, "My wife and I have" is more polite and respectful than "I and my wife have...." For more insight, check the links recommended in the comments above by Roaring Fish and Andrew Leach.

  • So, "He gave them to me and my wife" is impolite? and we have to say "... my wife and me"
    – Tom
    Dec 5, 2015 at 10:27
  • It's less common to be fussy about your example, but yes, you should. Dec 5, 2015 at 12:42
  • 1
    @Tom No, your example of the prepositional phrase, "He gave them to me and my wife" would be just fine. Please keep in mind that I am not criticizing, just pointing out why my preference is for "My wife and I have." Dec 5, 2015 at 15:57
  • @Tom an easy escape route would be to simply say: "He gave them to us" But that observation is interesting, why is "He gave them to me and my wife" acceptable but when the subject is "I" it is customary to place the pronoun at the end?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 5, 2015 at 16:19
  • @Mari-Lou A That's a good question. The more I ponder it, the more I think it is probably idiomatic. Dec 5, 2015 at 18:08

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