How to Write Grammatically Correct Photo Captions
“Aardvark and me” or “Aardvark and I”?
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Can You Use Fragments as Photo Captions?
It’s OK to use a sentence fragment to caption your photo, but to choose between “Aardvark and me” or “Aardvark and I,” you have to figure out what the whole implied sentence would be so you know whether to use a subject or object pronoun.
That’s where photo captions get tricky because we’re just guessing what the sentence would be. Do you mean “Check out Aardvark and me at Mardi Gras,” “This is a picture of Aardvark and me at Mardi Gras,” or “Aardvark and I went to Mardi Gras last week”?
If the implied sentence is “Check out Aardvark and me at Mardi Gras,” “me” is the right choice because it’s in the object position. You’re the target of the checking out verb action.
If the implied sentence is “This is a picture of Aardvark and me,” “me” is the right choice because it is the object pronoun and we need an object pronoun because it follows the preposition “of.”
If the implied sentence is “Aardvark and I went to Mardi Gras,” “I” is the right choice because it is the subject pronoun and we need a subject pronoun because you’re taking an action--going to Mardi Gras--making you the subject of the sentence.
“It Is I” Versus “It Is Me”
To make things even trickier, we have a problem with another possible implied sentence: one that simply reads “This is Aardvark and I.” The problem is that this is an area of language that is in flux. Traditional grammar rules are clear: pronouns that follow linking verbs (such as “is”) should be subject pronouns. So, for example, when I answer the phone, and someone says “Is Mignon there?” I’m supposed to answer “That’s I,” not “That’s me.”
But many modern, respectable style guides (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) say “That’s me” is allowed, or even preferred. Today, both “This is Aardvark and I” and “This is Aardvark and me” would be considered correct depending on which version of the linking verb rule you choose to follow--the traditional rule or the more lax modern rule.