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Assume the following: There were problems and Maria and I solved them together.

The most straight forward way of telling someone about what happened would be something like:

Maria and I solved the problems.

Now, I was wondering whether there's a way of saying this without emphasising or even mentioning myself (with an "I"):

With Maria we solved the problems.

or

We, with Maria, solved the problems.

Would this be both grammatically and semantically correct?


Some investigation lead me to this: I am aware that in the case of using something like "together with" or "along with" I'd need to use the singular I as a subject as long as there are only two people involved:

Together with Maria I solved the problems

See "Together with ... I/we did ..." for an extensive discussion. The main point is that "together with" acts as a prepositional phrase and not a coordinator and therefore cannot modify its subject (nor count). However, I'm thinking that replacing "together with" by just "with" would make it valid to use "we" as a subject. "With" here would be characterising the subject rather than modifying it.

Thanks a lot for any thoughts!

  • Unless you are using the royal plural as a singular (like British monarchs - or Margaret Thatcher on one occasion) we means more than one person regardless of whether you include together. – Ronald Sole Jul 3 '18 at 12:36
  • "Together" is an adverb describing how I/we solved the problems. We solved the problems together. I solved the problems together with Maria. – ScottM Jul 3 '18 at 12:37
  • Thanks for your comments @RonaldSole and ScottM. I understand that when using "together with" I'd have to be using "I" as a subject. But my question is: Can I avoid the "I" by formulating it this way: "With Maria we solved the problems"? – jimmy_jammy Jul 3 '18 at 12:42
  • @jimmy_jammy Indeed you can but the implication is that Maria and at least two other people solved the problems - not just Maria and you! – Ronald Sole Jul 3 '18 at 12:46
  • @RonaldSole Why can it not be just Maria and me? "We" would be the plural subject and "with Maria" would be describing it (using the third meaning of "with" as defined in dictionary.com/browse/with") – jimmy_jammy Jul 3 '18 at 12:49
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You can't really do this in a single short sentence because you are trying to establish that Maria was a part of this with someone else. That someone else is you and must be mentioned. Otherwise it's awkward.

That can be avoided by creating a context in which Maria is already established, then the implied "I" in "we" can be used. For example:

Maria is very smart. Together we solved the problems.

The first sentence establishes Maria. The second sentence takes Maria and adds the implied "I" to create the "we".

Of course, you can combine clauses to make this into a single sentence:

Maria is very smart, and together we solved the problems.

  • I consider this the answer because it highlights that there doesn't seem to be a way around an 'awkward' solution and it gives a good minimal suggestion. – jimmy_jammy Jul 3 '18 at 16:55
  • An example for an awkward but grammatically and semantically correct sentence with a single clause would be: "Our group of two with Maria solved the problems." – jimmy_jammy Jul 3 '18 at 17:00
  • Our group of two with Maria suggests three. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 3 '18 at 21:17
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo True, I correct: "Our group of two including Maria solved the problems." – jimmy_jammy Jul 4 '18 at 9:46

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