Today’s thought question came from Emily with the subject line, “Grammar, schmammar.” As she says, “Everyone can play.”
Grammar question! Is this sentence correct? I think so, but it seems horrible:
“I have always considered you and myself to be twins separated at birth.”
Assumption #1: Reflexive pronouns (e.g. “myself”) are correct when the subject and the object of the sentence are the same. “I talk about myself to excess, but the stories are always hysterical.”
Assumption #2: The first-person pronoun always comes last in a list. “He and I went to the store to get cheese” or “Bowling is a new obsession for Mark, Nikki and me.”
So why does that sentence seem so clunky? I know I could substitute “us” for “you and myself”, but “us” isn’t as precise (I may want to be very specific about exactly who “us” consists of).
MRP responded (somewhat off the cuff and without doing any research):
I immediately wanted to say it should be “you and me” because that sounds better to my ear, but then again, if you took away “you” and wrote the sentence as “I have always consider XX to be a twin separated at birth,” you would say “myself.”
However, I would probably say, instead, “I have always considered the two of us to be twins separated at birth.”
To which Emily responded:
I agree with your suggestion, but it still relies at least somewhat on context to determine who the “two of us” are.
It also sounds somewhat better if you use a proper noun: “I have always considered Lamar and myself to be arch-enemies.” But that’s still not great.
So—other than feeling bad for Lamar, who finds himself to be at extreme odds with Emily—what do you think, folks? Bonus points for the person who provides an actual grammatical explanation for this beyond “it sounds right.”