By the (grammar) power vested in me
Question: “Is it incorrect to say, ‘Me and Sandy went shopping.’? I was taught that in all instances you should say the other person’s name first. Also, I have heard the phrase: ‘By the powers invested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife.’ Is it not, ‘By the powers vested in me?’” - (Judy Marcum)
Answer: Thanks for writing in, Judy. We’ll get both of your questions knocked out quick-snap.
As far as compound subjects go, you are correct: The speaker places himself or herself last. You would say, “Sandy and I went shopping,” or “John, Mary, Joan, Sally, Sandy and I went shopping.” It doesn’t matter how many subjects there are. As a matter of convention, the speaker is placed last.
Note: This is only true for compound subjects. Compound objects have no such prescription, and thus you could just as correctly say “between you and me” as “between me and you.”
Now, on to our wedding conundrum: Does the state “invest” in clergy (or judges, clerks of court, clerk-treasurers, etc.) or are powers “vested” in them? Let’s look at the definitions.
To “invest” means to “expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, etc.” On the other hand, to be “vested” means “secured in the possession of or assigned to a person.” It can also mean supplied with a vest, but that’s beside the point.
The two words are similar, I’ll grant you – though “invest” denotes a financial or monetary allocation, while to be “vested” has more abstract objects: powers, rights, responsibilities.
To answer the question, I think we see that the correct statement should be, “By the powers vested in me …” Unless, of course, you actually have a device that returns more power than what was put into it, in which case I suspect GE would be interested in taking you to lunch.