Question of pronouns

Steve Bink
Steve Bink used Ask the Experts™
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Given this (admittedly awkward) sentence:

We have been over this - I mean Brian and I, not you and I - in the past.

Is it supposed to be "Brian and I" and "you and I", or should it be "Brian and me" and "you and me"?

* Not specifically related to Web Languages and Standards, but I couldn't submit until I picked one "approved" category..  :/
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
Try:

We have been over this in the past (that is, Brian and I have been over this, and not you and I)


It is a wee bit longer but very clear.
Shaun KlineLead Software Engineer
Commented:
Or even:

Brian and I have been over this in the past, but not you and I.
To answer your question, you would use "I" and not "me".  A good test is to turn the sentence around: "Brian and I have been over this" and "You and I have been over this".

Why not just say "Brian and I have been over this."?
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information Systems
Commented:
Is it supposed to be "Brian and I" and "you and I"
Yes, and the easy way to tell is by removing the person who isn't you and checking to see if it still makes sense:
"Brian and I went over this."
"I went over this." - still makes sense

"Me and Brian went over this."
"Me went over this." - makes no sense
I added the "Proofreading" topic tag.

In support of Paul MacDonald's explanation and rule/tip here are some resources:

http://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/when-to-use-i-and-when-to-use-me
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/page_17.htm

In your type of scenario the sentence is a complete jumble and the use of hyphens is a lazy way of trying to punctuate it so that it makes some kind of sense.  This is the kind of sentence that you get when you transcribe verbal conversation verbatim and it must be a nightmare for court stenographers to try and punctuate.  Where possible (If it doesn't have to remain exactly as spoken in a transcript) you need to "unjumble" a sentence and punctuate it properly before trying to figure out what pronoun to use.
Top Expert 2004

Author

Commented:
>>> This is the kind of sentence that you get when you transcribe verbal conversation verbatim

Great insight... this is exactly how the question came up.  A co-worker and I (me?  :D) were discussing a topic when he uttered this sentence.  He then got distracted by whether or not he had used the correct pronoun in his parenthetical phrase.  Because we both enjoy the pedantic application of grammer rules, the distraction lasted for a bit.  

Before I posted this question, I tried rephrasing it for clarity:

We (and by "we" I mean "Brian and I", not "you and I") have been over this in the past.

That definitely presents it as an appositive phrase, which should retain the same context as the original subject.  That means "I" should be correct.  He argued that when removing the "people not me" for simplification, it sounded more correct to say "I mean me" instead of "I mean I".

I do appreciate the consensus here, and will be sure to bring his attention to this question on Monday.  In the meantime, can anyone point to any other resources addressing this specific scenario, as malformed as it is?
Most Valuable Expert 2017
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
General rule for the Brian and I vs Brian and me - take Brian out of the sentence and see if it still makes sense

Brian and I went to town
(Remove Brian)
I went to town [Good]

Brian and me went to town
(Remove Brian)
Me went to town [Not Good]

He gave the prize to Brian and Me
(Remove Brian)
He gave the prize to Me [Good]

He gave the prize to Brian and I
(Remove Brian)
He gave the prize to I [Not Good]
Top Expert 2004

Author

Commented:
I appreciate the consensus here.   Co-worker is stubbornly holding on to their failing position.  I'm continuing to look for example specifically related to parenthetical and appositive phrases.  

Thanks for the support.
Thank you Steve
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
You are very welcome

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