4

I need help correcting this sentence:

Bob and myself are thinking about founding an Internet company.

Please tell me why it is incorrect and what the correct subject and verb would be.

13

The simplest method for determining the "correct" pronoun is to remove the other person from the sentence entirely. Conjugate the verb as if it only involves you & try the different options. Whichever pronoun is correct should work for the sentence w/multiple people.

Attempt #1: ME

Me am thinking about founding an internet company.

No. Sounds like caveman. Caveman Grock no use internet!

Attempt #2 MYSELF

Myself am/are thinking about founding an internet company.

Myself is a reflexive pronoun used for verbs where you are the recipient of the action. It often appears with I/me to emphasize that you're framing the verb as it affects you specifically, and not others.

I, myself, have hardly ever referred to myself as 'myself' in this manner.

This doesn't work with "founding a company," where "the company" is the recipient of the action.

Attempt #3: I

I am thinking about founding an internet company.

DING DING DING! We have a winner! I would be the correct pronoun in this case. If you use it in the complete sentence, it would be:

Bob and I are thinking about founding an internet company.

You conjugate the verb "to be" as "are" for multiple people, but the pronoun I remains the same.

Although the above use of "Bob and I" is grammatically correct standard English, you'll often hear people (especially kids) use "me" in conversation even though it's technically incorrect.

Where this sometimes confuses people is if they assume it should always be I, which is not the case. Sometimes it could be me, which you can determine through the same process of elimination.

For example:

An investor met with me [and Bob] for lunch to discuss our proposal.

You can also invert this. As to which is "correct"? Social rules may dictate that it's more polite to list other people before oneself.

An investor met with [Bob and] me for lunch to discuss our proposal.

  • Watch out - your final example is (at least according to my education) backwards from how it should be in formal written communications. You must always place yourself at the end of a conjoined list of subjects/objects. For example: "This fella met with Bob and me for lunch" is the correct phrasing. To say "An investor met with me and Bob" is considered incorrect/informal (presumably because you are placing yourself in mind ahead of others, theoretically a self-centered thing to do). Frequently in this case I hear "An investor met with Bob-and-myself" [wrongly], as if to create a new noun. – Darren Ringer May 11 '15 at 21:42
  • @DarrenRinger Indeed, the proper order I was taught is "Second person, third person, first person", because it gives precedence to the addressee. – Monty Harder May 11 '15 at 22:09
  • 2
    @Darren Ringer: That strikes me as a social suggestion more than a grammatical rule, but I've edited the example accordingly. – mc01 May 11 '15 at 22:15
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    @DarrenRinger "You must always place yourself at the end of a conjoined list of subjects/objects." That's a matter of style, not grammar, and "must" shouldn't be used for mere preferences. – David Richerby May 12 '15 at 8:51
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    @DavidRicherby I was taught it as a matter of grammar, not style. This was from several different teachers at different schools. I am not speaking for the entire US but certainly for this part of the country. PS "shouldn't" is just as sylistic/opinionated and I don't appreciate your using it here either ;p Anyway, my sentence 'would' ideally be interpreted to mean that, as_per_my_education_and_instruction, one must put oneself at the end of the list. – Darren Ringer May 12 '15 at 12:37
5

In natural speech, me and X is common:

! Me and Bob are thinking about founding an internet company.

! Bob and me are thinking about founding an internet company.

The reverse order, X and me, is also found, but not as often.

However!

In schools, students are taught not to speak this way, and even though it's natural, it's considered non-standard English. Instead, students are taught to use the X and I formula:

Bob and I are thinking about founding an internet company.

And this replaces the natural speech pattern for many speakers. It's always taught in the same order; the reverse formula, I and X, is never learned and is therefore found to be ungrammatical by many speakers most of the time:

*I and Bob are thinking about founding an internet company.

So out of the alternatives we've got so far, X and I is the only standard option. But what about your proposed alternative, X and myself?

! Myself and Bob are thinking about founding an internet company.

! Bob and myself are thinking about founding an internet company.

No matter which order you put it in, this is a non-standard hypercorrection. It's intended to sound like an utterance that belongs to a higher register, but there's no justification for a reflexive pronoun here, so it's ungrammatical in the standard language.

However, some prominent sources argue that myself in coordinate subjects is well established enough that in today's English it should be considered standard rather than a hypercorrection. These sources include both The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage. It's true that this construction is not infrequent, but it's still widely condemned rather than universally accepted. Of course, you may use it if you wish. Here, I'll recommend against it.

The standard choice, then, is:

Bob and I are thinking about founding an internet company.

This uses the formula children are taught in schools, and it's universally accepted.


In this answer:

  • The ! symbol marks an utterance as non-standard.
  • The * symbol marks an utterance as ungrammatical.

For more information about pronoun case in coordinate subjects, see Thomas Grano's 2006 thesis, “Me and her” meets “he and I”: Case, person, and linear ordering in English coordinated pronouns.

0

"I am thinking about setting up a new company online with Bob"

"I am thinking about setting up a new online company with Bob"

Bob is considering setting up an Internet company with me.

  • Please provide an authoritative explanation with your answers. Answers without explanations may be deleted. – Em. Apr 13 at 4:28
-1

Bob and I are thinking about founding an Internet company.

  • 2
    Please be more elaborate. Why do you think this is correct/incorrect? – M.A.R. Oct 5 '15 at 17:43

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