10

When I say

My friends and I went snowboarding.

somebody said to me there is a grammar mistake in my sentence but I could not figure out what it is. What is the grammar mistake in the sentence? Should it be

I and my friends went snowboarding.

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    Your sentence seems perfectly fine to me. I don't know what they would be referring to. – Jason Bassford Aug 23 '18 at 5:13
  • The only way I can think of when they may be right is if they know you're planning to go snowboarding, and haven't gone yet. Then it should be "My friends and I are going snowboarding (on ...)" – Dhara Aug 23 '18 at 14:38
  • If this happens again, ask the person to explain what they think the error is. Then we can explain whether they're right or wrong. As it stands, we have to guess what they meant. Somebody telling you there is a mistake but not what they think it is, is not helpful to you. – CJ Dennis Aug 24 '18 at 0:59
  • Next time you could ask them, "How would you say it?" This and related constructions with "I" or "me" seem to get people very confused. – David K Aug 24 '18 at 11:08
32

That somebody is wrong and does not speak proper English. You are correct on both of your sentences.

My friends and I went snowboarding.

Is a perfectly valid phrase ( And by FAR the most common). However, you could also say

I and my friends went snowboarding.

Which is also valid (but in REAL life no one uses this phrasing) . I would use your first choice though as it is more commonplace and is more courteous (as you put your friends before you). Also the first phrase just has more of a ring to it (sounds better).

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    Is the second construction valid though? When I was in school I was taught that personal pronouns ALWAYS came after the conjunction. It is possible that my teachers are liars. This is AmE. – Jake Aug 23 '18 at 16:56
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    @Jake I'd argue 'valid' isn't as useful a concept in language as "useful" and "common". To answer the question though, does "My brother came and picked my friends and me up from the mall" sound right to you? It sounds a little off to me (AmE). I really only hear people say "{x} and I" or "me and {x}" - While flipping the order within those phrases doesn't change their meaning, it isn't as common, and so sound weird. I'm inclined to view any assertion about how english 'always' works as probably false:p – HammerN'Songs Aug 23 '18 at 17:23
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    @HammerN'Songs The issue with "X and me" vs. "X and I" is whether you are the subject of the action or the object – costrom Aug 23 '18 at 20:09
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    @costrom, Yes - I was talking about whether a person says "X and me" or "me and X", and, similarly, whether people say "X and I" or "I and X". Sorry for my lack of clarity. – HammerN'Songs Aug 23 '18 at 20:33
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    Maybe it's 'valid', but the second construction is completely unacceptable in civilised society. – Strawberry Aug 23 '18 at 23:31
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Your sentence is entirely correct. I'm not sure why they thought it was incorrect, but I'll explain why you're correct, and then guess what their mistake may have been.

When we use two subjects together, we should be able to use either one by itself.

My friends went snowboarding.

I went snowboarding.

Both of these work fine, so there is no mistake there.

Further, it is traditional to place "I" as the last person in a list of subjects (probably to be humble). "I and my friends", while not grammatically wrong, is generally considered to be incorrect.

Next, we use the verb "go" for (almost) any activity that is made with [verb]-ing. "Go shopping", "go swimming", "go skiing", etc. You used "go" (or here the past tense, "went"), so that's correct.

The only thing that could possibly make your sentence wrong is if it was for the wrong time. For example:

I went snowboarding next week.

This is wrong (assuming you don't have a time machine), but I really don't think you made that mistake.

So why did they say it was wrong? Well, there are two possibilities I can think of. First, they may have been thinking that you should use the verb "do" or "play" instead of "go". That's wrong. "Go" is the correct word.

Second, they may have been making a common mistake (even among native speakers). Many people say "My friends and me went snowboarding." This is not correct, because it doesn't pass the test I mentioned in the beginning.

My friends went snowboarding.

This is correct, but...

Me went snowboarding.

...is not correct. Therefore, it should be I, not me.

Hope that helps!

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    @Drazex Still, there’s a difference between saying “this is slang” or “this is informal”, and “this is incorrect”. When teaching there’s obviously a focus on a specific subset of the language. But just because that’s desirable doesn’t mean we should provide incorrect information about actual (standard or nonstandard) usage. – Konrad Rudolph Aug 23 '18 at 13:53
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    @KonradRudolph That depends on your definition of "incorrect". Arguably, slang could be defined as set of common incorrect words and phrases, depending on how prescriptivist you want to be. (For reference, I'm not nearly that prescriptivist). But I think this is just going to go around in circles, and won't add anything to the question/answer, so it's probably best to end here. – Drazex Aug 23 '18 at 13:57
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    @mast3rd3mon I'm very skeptical that "Me and my friends" is taught in the majority of schools in the UK (maybe yours was an exception). Every online resource that I can find, including the British ones, recommends "My friends and I", for the same reasons described in this answer. However, if you can point to a source that backs up your claim, I think it would be very interesting and relevant. – DoctorDestructo Aug 23 '18 at 17:38
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    @Accumulation I think Drazex was referring to using the wrong tense. For example, using "went" when you actually mean "are going to go", as in "My friends and I went snowboarding tomorrow". That's only grammatically correct if you discount the intended meaning and allow for the possibility of time travel, which probably wouldn't be very helpful to Learners. – DoctorDestructo Aug 23 '18 at 22:45
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    @mast3rd3mon "I and Jack..." sounds unnatural (not illogical), because "Jack and I..." is by far the preferred expression. It does not logically follow that you should use a different word form depending on the order of the words. For example, the preferred expression is "raining cats and dogs". You can't "fix" "raining dogs and cats" by changing it to "raining dog and cats". That just makes it more wrong. (We're changing a different grammar form here, but it's still illustrative of the logical problem.) – Drazex Aug 24 '18 at 8:42
4

My friends and I went snowboarding

There's nothing wrong with the sentence; it's perfect.

How come somebody says that your sentence is not correct? Maybe he likes to use object pronouns when they are cojoined with other nouns/subject pronouns as many people tend to do so in informal speaking and writing. In this case, the sentence will be:

My friends and me went snowboarding.

Or maybe he likes to begin the sentence with "I" as follows:

I and my friends went snowboardig.

This sentence is also OK grammatically, but your sentence is more polite and common.

Another reason may be that he prefers the following sentence as presented by J.R:

I went snowboarding with my friends.

This sentence like yours also sounds easy on the ear.

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    There’s also, “I went snowboarding with my friends,” but, “My friends went snowboarding with me.” I wonder if that was in play here. – J.R. Aug 23 '18 at 10:53
1

Your friends expected to see 'me' instead of 'I' . For example: 'Me and my friends went snowboarding.'

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    His friend speaks broken English. – Crettig Aug 23 '18 at 5:51
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    It's worth noting that, whether or not they expected it, "Me and my friends..." is not correct. "Me went snowboading" is not correct, so neither is it correct when used with "my friends". – Drazex Aug 23 '18 at 5:55
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    Or the person is speaking informally. That could make a good answer, in my opinion. In any case, please try to include an explanation with every answer. – Em. Aug 23 '18 at 8:03
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    @Bilkokuya - You raise an interesting point. Some things conversationally acceptable but grammatically incorrect (and therefore should be avoided in writing, generally speaking). – J.R. Aug 23 '18 at 10:49
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    @Bilkokuya It is always better to teach what is considered correct, and discourage what is proscribed. It helps to avoid confusion later, especially given the real possibility of finding out that it is considered incorrect later. It never hurts to use what is considered more correct instead of what is considered less correct, especially as a language learner. – Drazex Aug 23 '18 at 10:58
1

It is possible your friend had your sentence confused with a similar grammar error that you did NOT make.

It is incorrect to say "John gave apples to Ann and I"

Same reason:

You can say "John gave apples to Ann"

but you cannot say "John gave apples to I"

1

Generally speaking..

My friends and I went snowboarding

..would be considered good "proper" English and is grammatically correct.

However, in general conversation people will say..

Me and my friends went snowboarding

..which is perfectly acceptable in all but the most polite of circumstances - by which I mean - meeting the queen etc. ( "The Queen"?? :) )

If someone picks you up on using the second form then they are probably either..

  • Joking
  • President of the Correct English Society (fictitious)
  • In need of a stick removing from their a**

But

I and my friends went snowboarding

..is not correct, and just sounds "wrong" to a native speaker. It should either be me and my friends or my friends and I (see above).

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