Grammar Problem? Fix it With Addition and Subtraction. Grammar is complex, and it takes years to learn it correctly. But what if someone has to make a split-second decision and there’s no time to pull out grammar books for an in-depth study of the English language? I know we’re talking about grammar, but the answer is addition and subtraction. My mother taught English for years, and she expected her children to use proper grammar. We learned little tricks that make it simple to add pronouns to sentences. There’s no need to complicate or overcompensate. Simply think about how the sentence would be without the new pronoun. Just because one is added, that doesn’t mean the first one changes. Below are examples of the most common mistakes. “Henry and I.” “Henry and me.” Which is it? It depends on the sentence.
Some people think it’s always better to say “I” rather than “me,” when there are two pronouns in a sentence, but that’s not the case. I’ve even heard people on television being admonished for saying, “Henry and me,” when it’s correct. The person is overcompensating while trying to avoid the slip-up, “That’s for me and Henry.” No one says, “That’s for I,” so why would anyone say, “That’s for Henry and I?”
Without getting into subjects and direct objects, let’s simplify the process. Subtract “Henry” for a moment, and you have your answer: “me.” “That’s for Henry and me.”
“Henry and I want to go.” “Henry and me want to go.” It’s pretty obvious that “I” is proper this time. You would say, “I want to go,” rather than “Me want to go.” In your mind, add what is understood. “want to go.” Who wants to go? “Henry and I.”
“Him and I.” “Him and me.” “He and I.”
You wouldn’t say, “Him is going,” or “Me is going.” It’s “He is going,” and “I am going.” Who is going? “He is.” “I am.” By adding the portion of the sentence that’s understood, you have your answer. “He and I are going.” “He and I.”
It’s unusual, but I actually heard someone say, “Henry and I’s tickets.” It’s also not, “Mine and Henry’s tickets.” You wouldn’t say, “Mine tickets.” It’s simply, “Henry’s and my tickets.” Subtract Henry or the personal pronoun, and you have your answer.
So the next time you’re in doubt, add it in or leave it out.
(Posted on Literary Rambles.com. Search Dale S. Rogers)