The use of the personal pronouns
Too often, we hear or see incorrect sentences such as:
1. You and my friend are plotting against me.
2. I and my friends have been given permission to go out.
3. I, the new boy and you are late to school today.
4. You and Kofi Asante resemble each other.
5. I and the rest of you are working together.
6. You, she and I must stay behind to clear up the mess.
As indicated above, all these six sentences above are grammatically incorrect because the personal pronouns have been incorrectly arranged in the sentences.
What are the personal pronouns?
They are the first person I, the second person YOU and the third person HE/SHE/IT.
These are singular, with their plural forms being:
WE for the first person, YOU for the second person and THEY for the third person.
Now, in English, whenever you have to use any two of the personal pronouns or even all three in a sentence, it is ALWAYS the third person HE/SHE and THEY taking precedence over or coming before the second person YOU and the first person I and WE.
The second person YOU too takes precedence over or comes before the first person I and WE.
In other words, under no circumstance should we have a sentence with the first person I and WE coming before the second person YOU and the third person HE/SHE and THEY.
We should also not have the second person YOU coming before the third person HE/SHE and THEY.
So in sentences containing two or three personal pronouns, the combination should always be:
She/He and you.....
She/He and I......
You and I....
She/He, you and I......
Note that sometimes the third person is s not represented by a pronoun but by a proper noun (Kofi) or a common noun (friend).
Whether the third person is represented by a pronoun or a noun, it is still a third person and must take precedence over the other persons, as in:
The boy and I attend the same school (NOT I and the boy attend the same school).
Mansa and you deserve some reward (NOT You and Mansa deserve some reward).
My mum, you and I are going to see the head teacher (NOT You, I and my mum.....; I, my mum and you......; My mum, I and you......; You, my mum and I......; I, you and my mum.......).
In combining the personal pronouns in sentences, it's ALWAYS the third person first, followed by the second person and then the first person, as in:
HE, YOU and I must stay together.
HE and YOU must stay together.
YOU and I must stay together.
HE and I must stay together.
(To be continued.)