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In Part 2 of my answer to this question I wrote the following:1                  (Focus on the bold print.)

Both sentences mean the exact same thing: A general truth statement that low rain in a year produces rings that are "close together" (like shown in the picture). In this case, there is no significant semantic difference between using "are" and "will be". Either sentence can be substituted for each other, and it will convey the exact same thing.

On the other hand, there are better ways to word this concept, as I and many others have pointed out. The sentences contain conflicting elements of grammar, semantics, multiple senses of time (both semantic and grammatical), and domain specific knowledge. All of these elements create forces that pull in different directions.

I'm not concerned about being first or last. It sounds more euphonious to me the way I wrote it. I think it has to do with the impersonal nature of "many others".

On the other hand, if it were someone's name, I would have written it like, "as @Cathy and I have pointed out." I would even write, "As the other Answerers and I have pointed out."

What do you think? Is this an exception to the rule? Some other options:

  • as I, and many others, have pointed out.
  • as I--and many others--have pointed out.
  • as I (and many others) have pointed out.

  • as many others--and I myself--have pointed out. (I was imagining what Obama might say in a speech. But this seems stranger written than spoken.)

  • as many others and I have pointed out. (The standard rule.)

Footnote

1. I have since removed I and many others in the original source. But the issue is still interesting as written here. :)

  • Fascinating question! The actual reasons (such as might be unmistakably identified here) are probably relatively obscure details in the context of learning English. I suspect the whole business about "putting yourself last" is just a matter of etiquette, and that more "natural" language would normally put the more important entity (me) first. Note that in normal speech it's much more likely to be Me and Cathy, rather than Cathy and me (or ...and I if you're in "formal" mode). – FumbleFingers Mar 2 '15 at 18:51
  • @FumbleFingers The actual reasons ... are probably relatively obscure details in the context of learning English. Don't let that hold you back! :) I wouldn't mind it being migrated to english.se if that would allow it to be given a more in-depth treatment. – CoolHandLouis Mar 2 '15 at 19:23
  • Space precluded me from mentioning that this Q would be equally at home on ELU. But even the second point in StoneyB's excellent answer eventually nets down to an "opinion". And the whole business about why "natural" speech would normally identify self first is bound to be Off Topic (but you see it implemented as "nearest to self" by the two sets of parents of a married couple - outside of formal contexts, it's usually John and Jane or Jane and John depending on which one is your child). – FumbleFingers Mar 2 '15 at 19:34
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I think your instinct is correct.

To begin with, you can't say many others and I because other has to have an antecedent to distinguish itself from. You leave the hearer wondering "many other than who?"

But both many people and I and I and many people sound almost as odd. I suggest—and this is nothing more than a guess—that this is because employing a conjunction implies that many people and I are two different sorts of entity: you are distinguished from many people and consequently must be something other than a person. I and many others avoids this implication; but If you want to put the many in first place you're going to have to say something like as many people, including me, have said.

  • Your first point is the "killer" argument against OP's specific resequenced version. Your second point sounds pretty convincing for at least some other contexts though. We have no problem with many people including myself, I think because "I" am part of (not additional and) the set already specified. As a rule, I'm not sure you can normally follow many X with and ["unqualified" Y]. You can do it if you qualify Y though - many theists and quite a few atheists believe there is some objective "purpose" to human existence. – FumbleFingers Mar 2 '15 at 18:31
  • Thinking that one through, I find there's something deeply unsettling about many theists and almost all heads of state believe there is some objective "purpose". I can't avoid receiving the implicature that no heads of state are theists. But is that inherently part of the construction? It would be interesting to know if there's a credible counter-example. – FumbleFingers Mar 2 '15 at 18:41
  • @FumbleFingers would you please clarify a point? I don't know what you mean by "against OP's specific resequenced version." Are you suggesting that StoneyB's first point supports the notion that "as I and many others have" is wrong? – CoolHandLouis Mar 4 '15 at 1:17
  • @FumbleFingers I think you're right: conjunction implicates distinct entities, not overlapping entities. But the implicature can be cancelled: "Many theists and almost all heads of state, even the atheistical ones, believe..." – StoneyB Mar 4 '15 at 1:37
  • @CoolHandLouis: I meant as many others and I have pointed out. (The standard rule.) at the end of your question, which StoneyB specifically referenced at the start of this answer. I don't really care how you punctuate ('cos for me language is primarily spoken), so all your other versions net down to the same thing for me anyway. – FumbleFingers Mar 4 '15 at 13:45
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This is an ancillary note that's closely related to the main topic and important to language learners. It just happens to be too long to be a comment.


In English, the general rule is to put "I" last in writing. Most writing that puts "I" first can cause the reader a range of negative attitudes--from simple distraction to a perception of lower intelligence or lower social class. This has been documented elsewhere at length. However, even if there appears to be an exceptional case where putting "I" first would be preferred stylistically, one still must still be aware that the "I must be last" rule is so strong that it can still be perceived negatively.

If one wishes to maintain a sense of politeness and propriety, one can find other ways to word the sentence in order to put "I" last. In this case, I already provided a good solution in my Question:

  • "...as the other Answerers and I have pointed out."

And, in fact, I made this edit to my original post for exactly this reason.

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