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117

Short answer Yes, this argument does have a basis in linguistic fact, which is why some people do it in the first place, but that doesn't mean it must be correct in Standard English (and it isn't). Longer Answer This argument does hold water in the linguistic sense. "My wife and I" is, in fact, a phrase — a syntactic constituent. The fact that this ...


59

You and ye used to be the plural forms of the second person pronoun. You was the accusative form, and ye was the nominative form. Because of this, you still conjugates verbs in the plural form even when it is singular; that is, you are is correct even if you is only referring to one person. Thee and thou used to be the singular forms. Thou was the ...


48

Actually, somewhat contrary to the fine answer selected above, you was not originally the form that paired with the familiar singular thee. Rather, the nominative (and vocative) form was ye. The now-common you was originally used in objective forms alone, so accusative or dative. For example, Wordsworth draws the nominative–dative distinction when he writes ...


40

It is grammatical, but it is indeed extremely jarring. It is (to me at least) just as jarring (if not more so) to say *Remember me, who is your friend. A much better way to express the idea is to say Remember me, your friend. On what basis do I say that it is grammatical, if it is so jarring? It is usual, in formal English, to make the verb in the ...


39

"Is it a boy or a girl?" I'm wondering about the grammar: what role is that "it" playing in that sentence? Is it a personal pronoun or a dummy pronoun? 1.) The word "it" is the grammatical subject -- we know this because of the subject-auxiliary inversion in the interrogative clause. 2a.) Depending on the context, it could be reasonable for a ...


37

Is it a girl or a boy? Is highly unlikely to offend anyone but someone who exhibits a combination of speaking poor English and being very obsessed with grammar — while not understanding the concept of grammatical gender. But if you really want to avoid all risks, why not ask it the way you phrase earlier: Did you have a girl or a boy? Which, of ...


36

I tried to use "I" in the first version of my thesis (in mathematics). When my advisor suggested corrections, the most detailed and strongly-worded of them was to use "we"; later, I asked another young professor whether one could use "I" and she said "Only if you want to sound like an arrogant bastard", and observed that only old people with established ...


33

Jim, John, and I is a plural subject, so it requires the plural verb are. I often becomes me as the subject in informal Standard English, but you should use I in writing. If it is coordinated with other nouns or pronouns it will need a plural verb, whatever form it takes.


32

According to Grammar Girl, it's "a rule of politeness" to put yourself last in the list: Ms. Smith informed my wife and me that... General Writing and Grammar help concurs, but does not offer any additional authorities on the matter. The Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary offers the same advice: third-person, then second-person, finally first-person ...


31

What are the Americans doing? Apply the usual "we vs. us" test: Remove any nouns and adjectives between we/us and the verb, and test. [We/Us] drink beer cold : We Americans drink beer cold. The Aussies call [we/us] Seppos : The Aussies call us Americans Seppos. The same test applies when referring to any group collectively: [We/Us] recite poetry ...


27

"I" is used when the speaker is the subject of the sentence: "I kissed Eve." "Me" is used when the speaker is the object of the sentence. "Eve kissed me." Strict grammatical logic says that the same is true when answering questions. "Who kissed Eve?" "I did." or just "I." However in common usage, going back centuries, people frequently ...


26

It's a nosism (because weism is too close to bathroom humor), specifically the author's we. Similar to the editorial "we", pluralis modestiae is the practice common in mathematical and scientific literature of referring to a generic third person by we (instead of the more common one or the informal you).


24

There have been a number of efforts to create new pronouns that would be gender neutral. Some other posters here have given examples. But none of these have really caught on. I'll hazard the prediction that none will. It's difficult enough to invent a new word and get people to use it. To invent a new word in a context where people are routinely using an ...


24

"Someone like me" is the correct one. There's a lot to say about the usage I guess, but to make a long story short: Me is a so-called objective pronoun, opposed to subjective pronouns (I, you, she, he). It's called like this because it's placed in the object field after verbs or prepositions: Wait for me! She likes me. Myself instead, is used with ...


23

What happened in English pretty much happened in German, and other European languages. Both German and English started off around 1500 or so, with singular and plural second person pronouns: English þu / ye and German du / ihr Then the nobility started to require more politeness, and as is always the case, the unnobility found ways to comply. In doing so, ...


23

John Fortescue, The Difference Between an Absolute and Limited Monarchy (written around 1471 according to Wikipedia but published under that name in 1714) uses the word themself three times in the course of his discourse: But afterward, whan Mankynd was more mansuete, and better disposyd to Vertue, Grete Communalties, as was the Feliship, that came into ...


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".


18

“Themself” Themself was used in the past, and there is no law or authority that prohibits anyone from using it today. I have used it in personal correspondence, conscious of its rebellious and contradictory nature; however, I have to confess many of my correspondents are in the field of language teaching, and they tend to be more open-minded. Although ...


17

You is the plural. Thou is the singular form of you. Thou has now disappeared from common use and is used only to address God. The process resulting in the use of the singular pronoun to express intimacy and the plural pronoun to mark respect or social distance is termed T-V_distinction, after the Latin tu and vos and is found is many languages, ...


17

Myself is a reflexive pronoun. It’s called that because one of its uses is to reflect the action of a verb back onto the subject, as in ‘I’ve hurt myself’. Yourselves is used in the same way in the sentence you quote from ‘Harry Potter’. Reflexive pronouns are also used for emphasis, and that is how myself is being used in ‘I myself don't like this idea’ (...


17

I believe it's called "generic you." From Wikipedia: In English grammar and in particular in casual English, generic you, impersonal you or indefinite you is the pronoun you in its use in referring to an unspecified person, as opposed to its use as the second person pronoun. The generic you is primarily used as a colloquial or less formal ...


17

This is called an impersonal pronoun, and it is equivalent to using one. It is just a convention we have in English that we can use the second person pronoun in this context. Other languages have other conventions for referring to a person as a generic object, and may not use the second person at all.


16

I have noticed more and more, both his and her being used, not alternatively by paragraph as another suggested, but within larger divisions of the the writing. For example, in a baby book, which covers many, many topics, each topic will use either his or her exclusively. It seems to be a fairly even balance, and not confusing to the reader.


15

I don't think there's anything wrong with using we in single-author scientific journal papers. It's the tradition, and if you use I in scientific papers it stands out, not necessarily in a good way. On the other hand, a PhD thesis is not a scientific journal paper, but a PhD thesis, and if you want to use I in it I don't see anything wrong with that. The ...


15

You yourself is perfectly grammatical and idiomatic. It is used for additional emphasis. The Corpus of Contemporary American English has 475 cites for it, and the British National Corpus has 137. But since these two naked numbers alone mean little, here's putting them into some perspective: COCA BNC you 3556382 661498 ...


15

In short, no, it isn't actually offensive. The simplest way to explain it to your boss is to note that this is just an idiom and the phrase "It's a boy/girl!" is extremely common in English. The more detailed answer would note that we refer to fetuses of unknown gender as "it" and babies inherit that pronoun until a reasonable guess of gender is possible. ...


15

In Early Modern English, ye was the nominative case and the objective and possessives were the familiar you (objective), your (possessive determiner) and yours (possessive pronoun).


14

Historical note (USA). When I started learning English, I was taught unequivocally that he/him/his was to be used when referring to a singular person of unknown gender (e.g. a hypothetical person). Then while I was still in school there was a long, concerted effort by feminists to change this usage as they saw it as making females feel like second class ...


14

Just to clarify since I see it alluded to but not clearly said, you was, originally, the objective plural. As said, originally, there was no "polite" form. Thou (thu, þu) was the singular subjective/nominative and ye was plural subjective/nominative. After the Norman-French Takeover, some began to try to graft the T-V distinction onto the English pronouns. ...


14

In English, gender pronouns are formally used only for representations of animate beings that actually exhibit a physical gender: people and animals. Any inanimate object (or asexual lifeforms like bacteria) would be an "it," by default. Of course, a few nouns sometimes receive the feminine pronoun. This is customary with ships and boats, as well as ...


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