Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Did you know English grammar is sometimes determined by politeness?

Today you’ll find out if you should say ‘me and her’ or ‘her and me?’

Listen in on today’s episode and find out why putting other people first matters in grammar and in life.

Being polite

Aubrey asks Lindsay if she considers herself to be a polite person.

Lindsay says she is.

Aubrey has a follow-up question about a situation.

She asks Lindsay what she does when she’s merging lanes, and would she let someone cut in front of her?

Lindsay says she would usually let them but it would make her upset.

She would then try and rationalize why they cut her off and would assume they have a good reason.

Aubrey and Lindsay discuss the importance of social order.

In the United States, forming a line is common and it’s important to wait your turn.

Today’s episode is all about politeness.

Today’s question

An All Ears English listener sent an interesting grammar question.

Hi Lindsay, Michelle, Jessica and Aubrey

Hello, my name is Asami from Tokyo. Your podcast has been the best way to learn English for a few years now. I’ve also taken Connected Communicator, 3 Keys IELTS, and Business English courses. They all are amazing!!

Today, I have two questions:
One, I sometimes get confused by the order of the subject. I heard that “I” always goes to the last and “You” always goes at the front.

For example, “You, my mom, and I went shopping today.” and “You, your mom, and I went to eat dinner today.” Is this rule always applicable?

Grammar and politeness

This is a tricky grammar question.

Even native English speakers make mistakes with it.

The short answer is yes, this rule is always applicable.

The order of subjects and pronouns shows politeness.

Politeness is vital for connection.

When speaking, in order to be polite, we always put the other person first.

This is just like when you are letting others enter the door first or having them drive in front of you and go ahead.

In Asami’s first example, this is the polite version.

She mentions ‘you’ first.

Incorrect, impolite grammar would be “I, you, and my mom went shopping.”

You may often hear this version from other English speakers and this may not necessarily mean they are being impolite.

They may come from a part of the USA where they don’t really follow this grammar rule to show politeness.

It may not be part of their regional dialect.

Asami’s second example shows the correct grammar.

“You, your mom, and I went to eat dinner today,” is the polite version.

This grammar rule can also be used to show respect in the workplace.

Politeness in pronouns and objects

The rule of politeness in grammar applies to object pronouns as well.

Whoever is speaking would refer to themself last.

#1: Subject pronouns (she/he/they)

These usually come at the beginning of sentences.


  • She and I have been friends forever!
  • He and I met to discuss the plan.

#2: Object pronouns (him/her/them)

These most often are at the end of sentences.


  • Are you meeting up with her and me?
  • They came to the theater with him and me.


You can see how this grammar is used in a regular conversation in today’s roleplay.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are chatting about what they did last weekend.

Aubrey: I went on a hike early Saturday morning with my dad.
Lindsay: Oh nice! Did you go early so it was nice and cool out?
Aubrey: Yep! He, my uncle, and I all met at the trailhead at 7 a.m. What about you? Did you get outside this weekend? I know you usually do!
Lindsay: Absolutely! Some friends were in town visiting my sister and they met up with her, my neighbor, and me at a music festival.
Aubrey: Oh wow! I do not have the stamina for music festivals anymore.


The rule of thumb to show politeness when speaking is to always put others first and mention yourself last.

The grammar guideline of putting others before yourself is all about politeness.

Whether the pronouns are subject pronouns or object pronouns you should always put everyone else before yourself.

Showing politeness is a great way to build connection by showing respect.

Use this grammar in a conversation with friends, colleagues, or family members.

What are other ways you show respect when talking to someone in your culture?

Share it in the comments below.

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