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In one of my exams, I had a multiple choice question and I had to choose the correct option.

Question: Please try to remember when I, you and my wife were talking there.

Options:

  • you, I and my wife
  • I, my wife and you
  • you, my wife and I
  • No correction.

Which would be correct in this case? And why?

Edit: This question appears here and they have marked the third option as correct answer. It may or may not be correct.

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  • Idiomatically, regardless of the sequence, most people today would use me rather than I here. You probably wouldn't mention your wife before yourself or the addressee, but other than that it's up to you whether you identify yourself before the addressee. Remember when you and me and my wife had a "three-in-a-bed" romp? Jan 2 at 13:22
  • (If that came in a "multiple-choice question", it's a complete garbage test. Don't bother with it.) Jan 2 at 13:23
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    myexaminer.net/Argues/view/438697984 Was it this question? Note the misspelling of explanation in No Explanaiton, Give your best explanaiton
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 2 at 13:40
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    Yes, do that, before anyone posts an answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 2 at 13:43
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    In my opinion 'most people' would be wrong to use 'me'! You wouldn't say 'Do you remember when me was talking?". Jan 2 at 13:57
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There is no grammar rule here.

There is a rule of etiquette to place others before yourself. This rule of etiquette would mean that "you and I" is preferred to "I and you". The rule was "others first, self last". In formal speech it is usually observed.

When I was actually taught this rule, in year 1, many years ago, I was actually taught that the order had to be "God first, others next, self last". This kind of rule comes from a different age

Now here someone seems to have extended that rule to say "Others first, family next, self last", and so the order should be "You, my wife and I". Such a rule may be invented by speakers of languages that have more clearly defined hierarchies of honorific and humble language than English,(Japanese comes to mind).

How important is this? Not very important. It doesn't affect comprehension. Many native speakers don't follow the etiquette rule anyway, and many use a different rule for the pronoun "me" or "I" in compound subjects.

I'd recommend using "You, my wife, and I" in particularly polite or formal contexts (or when doing an MC test to get a new job). In many other situations, you can apply a different rule: "Use 'I' when the subject is singular first-person" In this case, the subject is a phrase consisting of three people, so it isn't singular first person. Applying this rule gives "I was..." but "You and me were...".

In the exact context I'd prefer:

Please try to remember when we were talking with my wife.

And note that this is a very strange request to make. It sounds as if you are judging someone on their failure to remember the conversation. Like a police officer interviewing a witness, but why would the witness have been talking with the police officer's wife?. It's very odd.

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