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How to Write Grammatically Correct Photo Captions

“Aardvark and me” or “Aardvark and I”?

By
Mignon Fogarty
4-minute read
Episode #263

How to Write Photo Captions

So what should Monique tell her friend about photo captions? Here’s what I do. I usually avoid using fragments and write a whole sentence so there’s no question about what is implied, and I avoid the that’s-me-that’s-I problem by avoiding sentences that use linking verbs. My photos captions usually read something like “Aardvark and I had a great time at Mardi Gras” or “Can you believe how sunburned Aardvark and I got at Mardi Gras?”

On the rare occasion when I do use a fragment, I use “me”--“Aardvark and me”--because my underlying, implied sentence is “This is a picture of Aardvark and me.” But as I hope you gathered from this article, you can also make an argument for writing “Aardvark and I” because there’s no absolute right answer about which pronoun to use when you’re dealing with a sentence fragment.

Pronoun Order

There’s one final thing that’s wrong with Monique’s friend’s caption that she didn’t ask about, but that I want to address--pronoun order. When you’re putting yourself in a list with other people, you should always put yourself last. So Monique’s friend should write “Anas and me,” not “me and Anas.”

References

  1. O'Connor, P. Woe Is I. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1996, p. 10.

  2. Straus, J. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. 9th Ed. Mill Valley: Jane Straus, 2006, p. 17.

  3. Brians, P. Common Errors in English Usage. Wilsonville: William, James & Co, 2003. p.131.

  4. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1994, p. 628.

  5. Garner, B. Garner’s Modern American Usage. 3rd Ed. Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 485.

 

    Argus C3 Match-Matic image, Chris Freise at Flickr. CC BY 2.0

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.