Author Topic: What's the correct way of saying "No one is safe" to include the speaker?  (Read 9081 times)

Joe Carillo

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Question sent in by e-mail by Ms. Grace Toralde (March 4, 2011):

If I say “No one is safe,” which of the following do I use if I want to add that I am also not safe?

“Neither I.” (“No one is safe, neither I.”)
“So am I.”  (“No one is safe, so am I.”)
“So do I.”  (“No one is safe, so do I.”)

Thank you.

My reply to Grace:

None of the three alternatives you gave will do. They are all grammatically erroneous. We must keep in mind that the phrase “no one” is inclusive of everyone, so if you want to add to the sentence “No one is safe” that you are also not safe, you can’t say “neither I,” which would semantically exclude you, contrary to what you want to say. You can’t say “so am I” either, because the expression “no one” is already inclusive of you, so saying “so am I” would be a tautology or needless repetition of an idea that’s already subsumed by the expression “No one.” And you can’t say “so do I” either, for the reason that what’s needed grammatically to link this expression to the sentence “No one is safe” is a linking verb like “is,” not an active verb like “do.”    

There are three grammatically correct ways to add to the sentence “No one is safe” the idea that you are also not safe, and all three ways require the use of the verb “include,” as follows:

“No one is safe, including myself.”
“No one, including myself, is safe.”
“No one is safe, myself included.”

Take note that in all three cases above, the reflexive “myself” is used instead of the objective “me.” This is because the direct object of the verb “include”—meaning the direct receiver of its action—is the speaker himself or herself. In such cases, the reflexive form of the pronoun has to be used.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 01:18:52 PM by Joe Carillo »