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A grammer question for those who remember. 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:10 am
Posts: 71
Location: Japan
Post A grammer question for those who remember.
I have a question about grammer, I have forgotten the rule, :oops: , and am wondering if others can help me... Which is correct??

There are four people in my family: my father, mother, elder sister, and I.


There are four people in my family: my father, mother, elder sister, and me.

Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:38 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
I'll give it a shot.

The answer is either.

If the list would normally be the object, we would use 'me'.

The people in my family are .... and me.

If the list would be the subject, we would use 'I'.

... and I are in my family.

I think the problem is the example sentence. We generally don't talk about our families like this and there's not much need to include yourself anyway. We'd most like say, 'I live with ... My sister lives in ...' The question 'How many people are there in your family?' is a product of L1 transfer, I believe.

Take these examples for instance.

He gave letters to 5 people, ..., ...,..., and me. (He gave it to me.)

Seven people attended the meeting, ..., ..., ..., and I. (I attended the meeting.)

However, I think I'd actually say 'me' in most cases.

That's just what I think. It may or may not be correct. I never like these questions. (I was actually terrible at English until I got to high school :oops: Spelling and grammar are not my forte)

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:13 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:20 pm
Posts: 38
Location: chiba
I'd like to chip in with a half-baked and poorly researched explaination!

The "correct" (by that I mean more formal and slightly antiquated) form would be to use "My family and I".

20 years ago my mother would have been mortified to hear me say something like "my brothers and me" and explain that if the Queen (of England) was here I should never use that language (She might realise that we aren't British Aristocracy!!! :shock: ). Fortunatly for my brothers and me, the Queen never visited our suburban Australian home and we are now fully capable of speaking like normal human beings.

So if you are teaching members of high society please use "I" if you are teaching anyone else "I" or "me" should be just fine.

Thanks for bringing back great memories of my childhood! :smt023

Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:38 pm

Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:10 am
Posts: 71
Location: Japan
mark thanks for the answer. It is actually for a students self intro... This is the student's level of english. Also it will be a speech; not a written paper. I should have stated that in the beggining. Ematmos, am curious about your handle sounds interesting, thanx for the info... For some reason i remember learing that I is the proper form when doing a speech, or any other 'formal' setting. Just wanted to clarify... I went on line an used some of the online grammer programs, but kept getting different responses.... So figured that the human answer would be better.

Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:27 pm

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
Posts: 128
Location: Italy
Just to reiterate what Marks says, really, this is how I explain this kind of thing to students. In most cases, you can just omit the other people and see how it sounds. For example:

- It was given to my friends and me.
- It was given to my friends and I.

Clearly "It was given to I" is wrong, so the sentence with "me" is correct. Similarly:

- My friends and me had a great time.
- My friends and I had a great time.

You wouldn't say "Me had a great time" (not unless you were two years old, anyway), so the version with "I" must be correct.

Those examples are easy, but the same rule works for more complex problems, such as yours: "There's one person in my family: me".

But this is an area where native speakers often make what are technically grammar errors, so it can't be so very bad if students do the same.


Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:39 pm
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Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:12 pm
Posts: 4
Thanks for answering this post. I knew we did it, but I didn't know or remember why we did it. Even though I didn't ask the question, it is great to see well written answers fully explaining the difference.

And I completely understand the whole Queen of England thing, my parents give me the same grief sometimes.

Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:26 pm
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