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Example:

In order to make use of the database, we need a way to perform what are called CRUD tasks. That is to say we need a way to create new data items, read and find existing data items, update data items with new information, and delete outdated data items. This is the responsibility of a database engine. A collection of programs that are able to sift through the database items and perform the required tasks. And in order for you, or I, or any other end user to access the database engine, we need to go through some sort of database application.

I don't understand why the script writer opted for I instead of me. Is this grammatically a better way to say that? I think that me in the following example sounds a lot smoother than with an I plugged in instead: "in order for me to help you with your homework, we're gonna have to find someplace quiet where no one will disturb us"?

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    "You, or I, or anyone" is idiomatic... to a degree... but "me" is correct in this case. – Catija Mar 24 '15 at 1:54
5

When a pronoun is the object of "for", it must be in the appropriate case. English doesn't have cases like some other languages, but it has something similar to cases in the pronouns:

 case             pronoun                 example

 nominative       he; she; I              He is here. I am fine.
 possessive       his; her(s); my, mine   Is that my pen or {her pen / hers}?
 accusative       him; her; me            Please find him.
 dative           him; her; me            That is for him. Give it to me.
 instrumental     him; her; me            Will you go with her or with me?

The construction "for [pronoun] to [verb-inf]" resembles the dative case and requires the "him, her, me" cases, probably due to the use of the preposition "for".

By contract, "in order that [pronoun] [verb-inf]" is different. Here [pronoun] is the subject to the verb, and so that is the nominative case: it requires "he, she, I". This sentence is in the present subjunctive.

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    It's not that English has "something similar to cases in the pronouns"; English has case, but over the centuries it has disappeared everywhere except the pronouns. – WinnieNicklaus Mar 24 '15 at 20:14
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This is a mistake, perhaps the result of hypercorrection on the part of the writer.

As the object of the preposition for, the pronoun I should actually be me.

A grammatically correct version of the sentence would read as:

And in order for you, me, or any other end user to access the database engine, we need to go through some sort of database application.

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The source of your confusion is that you are starting with an error in grammar which seems to demand another error and then naturally leads to your dichotomy. Try:

"In order that you, or I, or any other end user may access the database engine..."

"In order that I may access the database engine..."

"In order that I may help you with your homework..."

  • Great point. I was already suspicious on the correctness of using in order for ... to – codezombie Mar 24 '15 at 14:24
  • I think this explains the issue quite succinctly. I might add some information like the idioms listed for order because "in order for", "in order to" and "in order that" are all combinations that can be used correctly and are often used incorrectly. – ColleenV parted ways Mar 24 '15 at 14:25
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    @JasonStack Don't be misled; "in order for <noun> to <verb>" is a perfectly grammatical construction. There's no need to rephrase it the way cranky old man has done. See pyobum's answer. – WinnieNicklaus Mar 24 '15 at 14:42
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    @WinnieNicklaus Do you have a reference for your assertion? The ones I've looked in list "In order that" and "In order to" for the sense that is being used in this context. I don't doubt that many folks commonly use "In order for me to", but I'm not convinced about it's correctness. Hmm I may have answered my own confusion by inserting "for me" in the middle of "in order to". I have to think about it. – ColleenV parted ways Mar 24 '15 at 15:48
  • "In order for" is perfectly grammatical British English, see the Concise Oxford Online (oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/order) meaning 3. – Francis Davey Mar 24 '15 at 20:32
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It's "in order for me to do something". In this form of use, "for" comes with a whole "accusativum cum infinitivum" phrase. There is probably a different expression in English grammar for it but that's what it amounts to in several other Indogermanic languages.

In constructs where "I/me" is followed by an actual indicative verb form, "I" may be more appropriate. But when the followup is the infinitive "to xxx", "me" is what would be used.

  • It's called an infinitive proposition in English. – Russ Bateman Mar 24 '15 at 18:45

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