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In this case what is correct?

Keep Tom and I updated


Keep Tom and me updated?

I understand that me is an object pronoun. And therefore I feel the second option is correct. Specially, because I would say "Keep him updated" and also "Keep me updated". Instead of "Keep he updated" or "Keep I updated". But something about saying "Keep him and me updated" feels wrong.

However I am not sure, because several people have told me that in this case I is the correct option because it is being used in conjunction with a name (Tom) and not a pronoun. Is that correct?

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This may turn into an opinion-based discussion, so let me weigh with: either is acceptable. If you want the wording that is technically correct, it's Tom and me, because it's the object - you wouldn't say keep I updated. However, because of hypercorrection, we've grown accustomed to using "and I" in all noun complexes. –  jimsug May 15 '14 at 19:13
@jimsug I just want to know the correct technical form. I won't be going around correcting others, but I don't want to be corrected when I am speaking properly either :) –  Dzyann May 15 '14 at 19:25
@jimsug Hypercorrection is a great word for this, but as far as I'm concerned it isn't acceptable. :) –  BobRodes May 15 '14 at 19:35
The correct technical form is, as you understand, "keep ... me updated." Use only this in formal contexts. Informally, nobody cares; so save yourself the trouble of trying to master two or three different dialects, and get in the habit of using the formal version all the time. –  StoneyB May 15 '14 at 19:39
Native speakers get hung up on this because of the hyper-correction that others have mentioned. Any time you run in to that situation, imaging you're saying it about only yourself and use the same pronoun. "Keep me updated." => "Keep Tom and me updated." "I need to know."=>"Tom and I need to know." Some people will hyper correct you. Politely ignore them. –  TecBrat May 18 '14 at 0:44

5 Answers 5

up vote 43 down vote accepted

You are correct: me is the object pronoun and should be used here, since it is going in the object position.

Normally you would probably say "keep us updated", so "keep him and me updated" may feel a bit off even though it's perfectly correct.

As to the people who tell you that you should always use "I" in conjunction with a name: they are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Ignore them! It's a form of "hypercorrection"--when you "correct" something that's already right based on some rule that doesn't actually apply.

Too many people have gone from:

"you never say 'Tom and me went to the store' (because "Tom and me" is the subject, so you need I instead of me)"


"You never say 'Tom and me', ever"

and then had to invent a reason for their mis-remembered rule.

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Hellion, the rule I learned was to leave out "Tom and" and then use whatever I would use in that sentence. "I went to the store" becomes "Tom and I went to the store". "Keep me updated" becomes "Keep Tom and me updated". Is that rule correct? –  corsiKa May 15 '14 at 23:30
@corsika, Yes, that is the correct way to do it. –  Hellion May 16 '14 at 2:09
I signed up just to jot down a quick rule to remember it, but then @corsiKa already said it. So I've signed up just to +1 that comment :) –  setek May 16 '14 at 3:32
"Tom is taller than me" or "Tom is taller than I am" -- both are correct. "Tom is taller than I" is WRONG. –  Phil Perry May 16 '14 at 14:02
@PhilPerry That is very arguable. More used? Definitely. Wrong? Not if you consider "than" as being a conjunction, in which case the last part of the phrase "Tom is taller than I [am tall]" is elided. –  msam May 16 '14 at 15:04

I think it's still simpler than any of the other answers yet. Just remove the other party and determine which version of 'I'/'Me' work for the sentence.

I went to the store.
Sue made a cake for me.

Then, add the other party back into the sentence, putting the other party first:

Tom & I went to the store.
Sue made a cake for my friend & me.

That's it.

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+1 Darn, you just beat me to it. That is definitely the simplest way to make sure that you get it correct. –  Mawg May 16 '14 at 5:19
This should be the accepted answer, IMHO. Teach a man to fish, etc. –  Will May 16 '14 at 20:18
Better than accepted answer. +1 - I created an account just to say this :) –  user6514 May 18 '14 at 0:17

Your understanding is correct. The reason that people often say things like "keep Tom and I updated" is a bit convoluted. I see Hellion has put an answer up while I'm writing this, and what he says is correct.

Colloquial AmE often substitutes me for I in the subject of the sentence when there is more than one person involved (e. g. "Me and Tom went to the circus"). Back in the 20th century, teachers routinely corrected children on this. Since the correction was always from "Me and Tom" or "Tom and me" to "Tom and I" ("Mom gave Tom and me some ice cream", being already correct, wasn't corrected), the misconception that always saying "I" was correct took hold with children who had trouble with the concept of subject and object.

So, we have our teachers to blame for this. :) Also, I suspect that the "rule" that using the subject pronoun in conjunction with a name comes from an imperfect understanding of what teachers were trying to teach. People who will not say "him and me went to the circus" will indeed say "Tom and me went to the circus". I do remember one of my grade school teachers explaining that you had to be careful when there was a name involved to use I instead of me.

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The teachers were overzealous. By trying so hard to prevent students from saying, "Tom and me need to keep getting updates," they never bothered to tell us that we shouldn't say, "Keep sending those updates to Tom and I." –  J.R. May 15 '14 at 21:15
I hear "Tom and I" at the end of sentences all the time, almost always incorrectly. And you can't say anything without being "that guy"... =\ –  corsiKa May 15 '14 at 23:31
"Colloquial AmE often substitutes me for I in the subject of the sentence" - not just AmE, this is extremely common in British English. (Source: I am British.) –  GeorgeMillo May 16 '14 at 3:57
Ah!! now it makes sense. It seemed totally weird for me that the rule would changed when you use a Name. Considering that both are nouns, thanks for the information! –  Dzyann May 16 '14 at 13:27
Then there's the hoary old "(they) Who is it? (you) It's me!". I remember teachers insisting that I should say "It is I", but that just sounds pretentious and odd to me. –  Phil Perry May 16 '14 at 14:05

When in doubt substitute in 'us' and 'we' and see which makes sense / sounds right.

Keep us (Tom and me) updated - sounds fine.

Keep we (Tom and I) updated - huh?! I don't think so...

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It's probably easier if you just have them remove the other subject - Keep me updated/keep I updated. –  jimsug May 16 '14 at 2:03
Yes, I did all that but people kept insisting that because the name was being used "Tom" it was correct to put I instead of me. It is a nice tip though. –  Dzyann May 16 '14 at 13:22
The and phrase is plural - so we versus us is a better test. Getting this wrong (in my opinion and Lynn Truss's) is one of Poly Toynbee's stylistic quirks. –  Thumbnail May 17 '14 at 8:30

General rule: If Tom wasn't there, would you say "I", or "me"? Adding Tom shouldn't change that.

I mowed Fred's lawn. Tom and I mowed Fred's lawn.

Fred paid me. Fred paid Tom and me.

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