Imagine this situation.
You’re having a conversation with a friend or family member, a colleague, someone you barely know. You say to them “I can’t meet up on Wednesday night, mum has invited my brother and me around for dinner”. Your partner looks at you and then, with a completely straight face replies “you mean, my brother and I”.
Well, actually, NO!
“I” is not the correct pronoun to use.
You wouldn’t say “my mum invited I around for dinner”. So with the addition of “brother” to this sentence what changes?
So why do people so often insist on using “I” where it is not necessary?
Maybe it has something to do with people’s desire to sound smart, when in actuality you come off sounding ignorant. Or more simply, they were corrected once and it stuck, they didn’t bother to question.
Sorry to rant but please bear with my anti grammar-Nazi spiel for a moment.
The technical explanation for this conundrum is as follows. ‘I’ is a normative pronoun, therefore it should be used as a subject within a sentence. On the other hand ‘me’ is an objective pronoun and should be the object of a sentence.
That may have confused you even more. The simple way to work out what is the proper pronoun to use is to drop the second object from the sentence. For example, “Please help Ariff and I” is incorrect. If you dropped Ariff from this sentence you wouldn’t say, “Please help I”. Similarly, “would you explain that to Ariff and I” just doesn’t make sense when said “please explain that to I”.
I’m not complaining, only saying that people need to chill. Unless you perfectly understand all the nuance of English grammar, don’t shut people down when they are being polite by talking to you in the first place. You come off sounding condescending.
In 2005 I lived in rural China teaching conversational English to middle school students. I probably over jumped the mark saying ‘teaching’. More like I told the students stories and they asked me questions. It was a way for them to practice their conversation skills.
Although many of them had problems with speaking and writing in English, if I asked, they could give me the textbook definition of a parallel construction. I couldn’t do this, but I could use one correctly in a sentence without even knowing it.
Hopefully I’m making myself understandable, clear and to the point.
I’m sure I have made a few technical grammar mistakes right here. A linguistics professor at university once told me I have a problem mixing up my tenses – however, he didn’t act smug when he informed me. He was only trying to help me become a better writer.
I guess my point is – we as native speakers know by ear what sounds right and what doesn’t. Just speak how you are feeling it. Don’t second guess or undermine people. Unless of course, they utter youse in a sentence. Then by all means lay a grammatical smack down on their arse.