Usage and Grammar

Q. A few of us are curious which is the correct wording of this sentence per CMOS guidelines: “They blotted out any distant landmark, enclosing Luke and I in a foreign landscape.” Should the words be “Luke and I” or “Luke and me”?

A. “Luke and me” would be correct in that context. That’s because (as the people who write grammar books generally agree) the choice of subject or object for a pronoun used by itself remains the same when that pronoun is used with one or more additional nouns or pronouns.

So just as most of us wouldn’t write that something was “enclosing I in a foreign landscape,” we shouldn’t write that it was “enclosing Luke and I.” And though people who use “Luke and I” in this way may argue that they’re treating it as a sort of invariable compound noun, it’s still wrong. Let’s just say that many editors hope this I-as-object phenomenon fades away.

For a look at a related problem, see “ ‘Hazel and I’s Puppy’? When Fiction Meets Bad Grammar,” in Fiction+ at CMOS Shop Talk.