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Question about English: My sister and I vs. My sister and me

In duolingo for Germans learning English there is an exersise Meine Schwester und ich schwimmen im Schwimmbad. - My sister and I swim in the pool. (https://www.duolingo.com/comment/7329194) After two years no one answered the question, why it is not "My sister and me...".

I suppose, that it could be "My sister and I swim in the pool." but "The persons who swim in the pool, are my sister and me."

Could you as English native speakers help please? If I am right, and in general what is the difference between them in Nominative use. (Why it is "He hit my sister and me.", is clear.)

Thank you.

June 8, 2018



"My sister and me swim in the pool" is wrong in English for the same reason that Meine Schwester und mich schwimmen im Schwimmbad is wrong in German. Use nominative for the subject of the sentence. That's true even when you have a compound subject like "My sister and I" or "He and she are swimming in the pool."

One of your other example sentences deserves some more explanation: "The persons who swim in the pool, are my sister and me."

The nominative is grammatically correct here, too. (I would say "people" here instead of persons, btw):

"The people who swim in the pool are my sister and I." --correct

That is grammatically correct, but it sounds Very Formal and it can sound inappropriately formal in colloquial / friendly speech. It depends on your audience. In colloquial speech we tend to avoid nominative pronouns at the end of the sentence like that and just replace them with objective pronouns. So although it is less grammatically correct, you will more commonly hear what you wrote:

"The people who swim in the pool are my sister and me." --not correct according to textbooks, but commonly used and doesn't sound bad or uneducated.

As another example, if you call somebody you know well on the phone and introduce yourself by saying "It is I," you will be grammatically correct but sound weird. The normal thing to say is "It's me."


To clarify, the reason that both "The people who swim in the pool are my sister and I" and "He hit my sister and me" are correct is because "are" is a linking verb and "hit" is a transitive verb. The relevant difference between the phrases is that the linking verb redefines the subject "people" as "my sister and I" (all nominative case), whereas the transitive verb connects the subject "He" to the object "me and my sister."


Thank for explaining to him(Although I only read the first paragraph because I like things simple and the first paragraph explained it all to me)


What a pity! The rest of the explanation is well worth reading.


Your explanation is very articulate, I like it.


The way I learned it is to remove the other part of the subject and see if it makes sense that way. In this case, remove "My sister and", and read the sentence with what's left.

"I swim in the pool" rather than "Me swims in the pool." Thus, "My sister and I swim in the pool" rather than "My sister and me swim in the pool."

In the predicate it works the other way around.

"The dog chased me" rather than "The dog chased I." Thus, "The dog chased my sister and me," is better grammatically than "The dog chased my sister and I."


i agree with everything jsiehler says. However, in many parts of England, you will hear the "wrong" versions so often, that they might as well be correct.

Even if my sister and I throw some boomerangs which return to my sister and me, you will certainly hear many people say;
"my sister and me throw some boomerangs which return to my sister and I"

10000 lemmings can't all be wrong :)


yeah "my sister and me" is technically not correct but a lot of people still say it. unless you're in a professional setting where you really don't want to make a grammatical error, you could probably use either one and you'd be fine.


If you're looking for comprehension, English speakers will generally understand My sister and I and My sister and me equally. You can exchange them as much as you want in any context and your meaning will get across.

In terms of how much English speakers use each, that generally depends on formality, dialect, and education. In less prestigious dialects or among speakers with lower education, and me forms are used more often:
My sister and me went swimming.
The dog chased my sister and me.

In more prestigious dialects, among more educated people, or in more formal settings, and I forms are used more often:
My sister and I went swimming.
The dog chased my sister and I.

For formal writing or formal speaking (if you want to be super correct all the time), use the pronouns like you would in German:
und ich > and I
und mich > and me

Some people think that the last method is the most correct way of speaking; others would say it is too elitist. My mother studied language at college and works as an independent editor and publisher of books, and she is a stickler for grammar. She is very particular about English grammar, and even she uses and I where and me would be more technically correct (like Don't forget to pick up your sister and I. where Don't forget to pick up your sister and me. is more technically correct).

English speakers (even native-speaking grammar sticklers) rarely get all of it right, so don't worry about it too much. As a rule of thumb, using and me for und ich makes you sound uneducated or informal, and using and I for und mich is generally passable unless someone is being really picky. Note that this only works after words like and, but, and or; saying Me stood at the door or He gave it to I are very very nonstandard. When in doubt, do as you would in German, and you'll probably be fine.


In more prestigious dialects, among more educated people, or in more formal settings, and I forms are used more often: My sister and I went swimming. The dog chased my sister and I.

I hate to disagree, since you are clearly educated, but whilst you often hear: The dog chased my sister and I, it surely cannot be due to being more educated, rather the opposite...


The dog chased my sister and I.

Isn't this what they call hypercorrection? When people think: "other dumb people use my sister and me all the time, and it is incorrect. But I know grammar, I will show them." Then they use it at the wrong place.

Even the definition for hypercorrection uses a similar example :) http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hypercorrection


Yes, precisely, it's a classic example of hypercorrection.


jzsuzsi , I believe you are exactly correct.


The dog chased my sister and I is wrong, since sister and I/me is the object of the verb chased. My sister and I swim is more correct, but you're right, you often hear my sister and me swim. Especially if the sentence is in the middle of a conversation. I think I and me may be slowly melting together in terms of usage.


As another thought, someone should summarize people's comments here in German and link here from the discussion the OP linked to.


rule of thumb

Interesting: In German we say "Faustregel" (rule of fist)


Probably the reason no one responded for so long is that most English speakers don't really know the rules of grammar, so they just have this vague feeling that it "looks wrong". Also, as others have said, lots of English speakers say "My sister and me" inappropriately. Actually, I suspect I've been guilty of that myself on more than a few occasions.


My sister and I are used if it is referring to the subject of a sentence. My sister and me would be if it was the object of a sentence. For example: My sister and I went to the park. - Subject The only people at the park were my sister and me. - Object


But in your second example, that isn't an object! It's not the object of a transitive verb and it isn't the object of a preposition. It is a Predicate Nominative and should be in the nominative.


A way to check would be as such; if you take out the "my sister" in the first sentence it would be "I swim in the pool". If you take it out in the second, it wouldn't make sense, as it would be, "Me swim in the pool". Using "and me" works in "He hit my sister and me" because then it would be "He hit me". I"m a little late, but I hope this helped some.


The correct answer is ''My sister and I went to the swimming pool''


No. ''My sister and I went to the swimming pool'' means "Meine Schwester und ich gingen zum (/ins?) Schwimmbecken."


The first answer in this thread is still the best.


An easy way to check is if you take away the other person in the sentence. Example: My sister and I swim in the pool. Take away my sister. I swim in the pool. If that sounds right, then it's correct. Example: She gave my sister and me food. She gave me food. Correct again. Honestly though, I wouldn't worry too much about this one grammar point because native English speakers make the mistake (My sister and I vs. my sister and me) all the time.


If you take "my sister and" out of the sentence, it's easier to see how the sentence should be constructed.

So, "I swim in the pool" is right. Also, "The person who swims in the pool is me" is correct. So is "He hit me".

Even native English speakers sometimes have trouble with this one. So you'll see things like "My sister and me went shopping" when it should be "My sister and I went shopping".

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