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Pronoun Order

What order do pronouns go in a list? Find out whether "me" and "I" go first or last.

By
Mignon Fogarty,
Episode #647
image of text that reads pronouns with examples of pronouns

Lately, people have been asking a lot of questions about pronouns and what order to put them in relative to nouns and other pronouns, so that’s our topic for today.

Here’s an example of a question (changed slightly to protect the writer).

We were scheduling a meeting at work, and everyone wanted to have it on Monday, but I couldn’t make it, and I knew another co-worker would be out of town, so I said, “That won’t work for Maria and me,” but then I immediately wondered whether I should have said, “me and Maria.” Which is it? And does it even matter.”

First, the pronouns you use to refer to yourself, such as “me,” and “I,” are different from other pronouns. With those three, put them last in a list, meaning you got it right when you said, “That’s won’t work for Maria and me.” Think of it as a matter of politeness, as if you're opening a door and letting the other person walk through it first.

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If you were using “I,” the subject pronoun, you’d also put yourself last—for example, if you were to say, “Maria and I can’t make it on Monday.”

It’s the same when you’re using two or more pronouns: “She and I can’t make it on Monday.”

You even put yourself last when you’re using the possessive pronoun: “Maria’s and my trip to New York is on Monday.” 

Note that when you’re mixing nouns and pronouns, they both have to be in the possessive form, unlike nouns which can share the possessive marker (the apostrophe) if the people share the thing, for example, in this case, if they’re going on the same trip: “Maria and Joe’s trip is on Monday.” (Read more about compound possession.)

And now let’s consider the other pronouns such as “you” and “her.” The AP Stylebook says the order doesn’t matter when you’re mixing these pronouns with nouns, but I tend to put the pronoun first. 

You and Maria can’t make it on Monday?

I was really hoping he and Maria could be there.

That’s your Quick and Dirty Tip: Always put the pronouns “me,” “my,” and “I” last in a list. For other pronouns, you can put them where they sound right to you, but if I’m mixing nouns and pronouns, I usually think it sounds better to put the pronoun first.

Always put the pronouns “me,” “my,” and “I” last in a list.

Pronoun Order Quiz

1. They like to visit [Aardvark’s and my house/my and Aardvark’s house].

2. [Squiggly and I/I and Squiggly] went to Aardvark’s party.

3. Send the flowers to [Maria and me/me and Maria].

4. [You and Hans/Hans and you] should visit my aunt.

5. [Maria, Hans, and I/I, Maria, and Hans] would like to welcome you to the mansion.

Answers are on the next page.

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