16

I want to sign a letter jokingly not by name, but by a personal pronoun. Is the signature a subject or an object? I feel like using object pronoun (me) sounds better, but why? The signature looks more like a subject to me.

Example:

Best regards,
I

or

Best regards,
me

And for more people signing the letter, following the rules from Which is correct, "you and I" or "you and me"?:

Looking forward to your answer,
John and I

or

Looking forward to your answer,
John and me

ADDED:

Based on the @wjandrea's comment under Peter Shors's answer, can the ellipsis

(This is) me (signing that letter)

be used as an explanation why the default pronoun is the objective case?

  • 2
    I love this question! (And the banter under Peter's surgically-precise answer! :) It puts me in mind of the Sparrow replying "I" to Who killed Cock Robin? If that magical talking sparrow were still alive today, he'd either be saying Me or I did (it). – FumbleFingers Sep 6 '18 at 16:16
  • @FumbleFingers And the Wren would say Us :) Nursery rhymes indeed! – Honza Zidek Sep 7 '18 at 10:30
22

The default pronoun to use in English is the objective case. See this EL&U.SE answer. For example, if you were to label a picture, you would label it "me at the beach in 2011" and not "I at the beach in 2011".

The signature is neither a subject nor an object, as it is not part of a sentence. Thus, the correct pronoun is "me".

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    @MarkHubbard I would write "John and me at the beach". Movie titles: "The Prince and Me", "Mia and Me", "Marley & Me". But I guess there's "The King and I" to balance those. – Peter Shor Sep 6 '18 at 14:30
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    The rule in modern spoken American English is that the nominative pronoun is used only when it's in a sentence and it's the subject and it's immediately in front of its verb. Otherwise one uses me as the default. This explains me and Bill went. Regularizing it (already normal in many lects) explains me and him went. The English nominative case is on its way to join the dative in that big paradigm in the sky. – John Lawler Sep 6 '18 at 14:32
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    @JohnLawler: Me don't think the nominative case is in any danger in sentences with a single pronoun as the subject. – Peter Shor Sep 6 '18 at 14:42
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    @PeterShor: Me neither. – John Lawler Sep 6 '18 at 14:42
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    Methinks and meseems used to but have dative subjects and third person singular inflection, and used to mean the same thing. Then think became a verb with an experiencer subject and object complement, and seem became one with a subject complement (and requiring either Raising or Extraposition). – John Lawler Sep 6 '18 at 18:58
7

I don't think signing a letter with a personal pronoun fits into the conventional format of a letter. As such, I don't think this question is really answerable. You can do whatever you want; you're already breaking the rules of letter-writing.

Some old-fashioned closings for letters made use of a copulative verb before the signature. E.g. see the following "Formal addresses and closings" from this web page:

To the Pope:
Formal Closing: On my knees before Your Holiness, protesting my filial dedication and imploring the favor of an apostolic blessing, I have the honor to be,
The humble and obedient Servant of Your Holiness,
(Signature)

To a person of high station or stature:
Formal Closing: I ask Your Excellency (Your Honor) to accept my profound respect. I remain
Your humble and obedient servant,
Or, I have the honor to remain,
Yours faithfully,
(Signature)

("Writing Letters – Small Manual of Civility", by Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.)

In a sentence like this this, it seems that the supposedly "correct" pronoun would be reflexive, e.g. "I am myself" or "I remain myself".

  • 2
    OP wrote "I want to sign a letter jokingly..." thus not in a conventional manner. – IconDaemon Sep 6 '18 at 17:12

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