Order of personal pronouns


#1

It is said that when some pleasant news is to be announced, the speaker uses this order: II person, III person and I person, and when some unpleasant news is to be announced, he uses this order: I person, II person and III person.

For example :

You, she and I have been commended for the success of the project.
I, you and she have been held responsible for the failure of the project.

Are these two sentences correct with regard to the order of pronouns?

Alan, could you please clarify and confirm the position?


#2

If we were being sensitive about ‘passing blame’ and courteous, then it makes sense to follow that order, but I don’t believe it is a prescribed rule of grammar. I suspect that your culture is being respectful and polite in recommending that you follow that order.


#3

Thank you, Bev, for clarifying the position and complimenting us on our being polite, courteous and respectful. In fact we are. It’s, perhaps, our cultural application of the language. I am happy that you appreciate it.


#4

Could anyone confirm the usual and formal order when the three persons are to be mentioned?
Is it II-III-I or III-II-I?


#5

What’s the position in the US, James?


#6

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, T.H.:

What an interesting question!

Of course, I cannot speak for Americans. (Especially when so many people of all classes say something like “Me and my wife went to Las Vegas last week.” Ugh! What horrific “English”!)

I can only tell you what this 76-year-old man would say:

Great news, T.H. You, Mona, and I have been nominated as “Person of the Year.”

Now, don’t get upset, T.H. But I, Mona, and you have been nominated as the “Worst Dressed Person of the Year.”

(According to your post, you would have said “I, you, and Mona.”
But I personally would put “you” last in a negative context. In other words, “I and Mona have been nominated as the 'Worst Dressed Person of the Year.” Oh, by the way, you are also included in the list. I should do anything to spare your feelings. That is just my personal choice – rule or no rule.)

James

Compare:

Mr. President, they have just voted Buchanan, you, and Harding as the worst presidents in our history.

Mr. President, they have just voted Buchanan, Harding, and – uh-- you as the worst presidents in our history.

Which sentence do you think is the more gentle?

James


#7

Yes, James, it can be need/context-based. We cannot have a hard and fast rule, it seems.Thanks from a 67-year-old man.


#8

I’m glad you’ve finally found someone you can believe.


#9

Thank you, T.H., for your kind note.


#10

James,

  1. Mohan, you and I have been nominated as the “Best Dressed Person of the Year.”
  2. I, Mohan, and you have been nominated as the “Best Dressed Person of the Year.”
    Which one of the two will be taken as the standard one by the native speakers?
    Thanks.

#11

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, Allifathima:

Of course, I do not know the answer. I am sure that others will soon answer you.

Personally speaking, I should be comfortable only with:

  1. You, Mohan, and I have been nominated as the “Best Dressed Person of the Year.”

I should not use your #1 because you have put the person to whom you’re speaking in second place. That might hurt his/ her feelings.
I should not use your #2 because that puts me in first place. I THINK that most books tell us that we should be more modest and humble.

James

P.S. I was, at first, confused by your #1. I thought that you were addressing a person named Mohan. In that case, your #1 would be perfect. Then, I realized that you were referring to three persons: Mohan, you, [note the comma] and I have been …


#12

For what it’s worth I concur with James :slight_smile:

You usually place the pronoun “I” last in the list.

For example: My friend and I went fishing.
I believe you can also say Me and my friend went fishing but this structure is frowned upon by grammarians (and parents).