You Before Me

“I and you will go to the game together.”

This was a statement I heard in another language, and I questioned why the order of subjects is different than in English. In English we are taught to say, “you and I.”  You and I will go to the game together.

I have asked others what order “you and I” would be arranged in their languages.  The answers so far have always been, “I comes before you.”  I haven’t found another language yet, in which the order is as it is in English.

I have asked myself why we would say “you” first. I think a Christian influence in the English-speaking cultures might be behind this.  Jesus teaches that we “take up our cross” and “die to selves.”  In other words, that we care more about others than we do about ourselves.

Let’s face it, we all care most about ourselves.  That is just human.  But Jesus teaches us to put others first.  You before me!

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” *Well, what a big message one tiny grammar feature has!

*Reference is from the Bible: John 15:13.


Thanks to my friend, Tara, for suggesting that German might use “you and I.”  I asked a native-German speaker, and he confirmed that indeed, it is you before me.  

How about you, does your language use you before I? Do you know of other languages that do? Comment below and continue the conversation.

Published by myunlimitedenglish

I understand that language acquisition is a process. Once a person has learned the first few words of the language, they are on their way! Whether the next step is talking about ordering food in a restaurant or launching a rocket into space, I am available to help with the English. My passion in my teaching is to applaud the acquired language, to build further understanding and to practice next steps. I look forward to helping you in your next steps.

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