Consider this clue:
Implied I am bound by discretion (5) I inside TACT (discretion); definition: implied
Do you think it works?
Ximenes wouldn't have been happy with it. Here's why.
The Personal Pronoun vs. The Letter
On the surface, the clue uses "I" as in the first person pronoun. In the wordplay however, "I" is not a reference to self - it is simply a letter of the alphabet. Grammar demands that we say "I is" in the wordplay, since the letter "I" is (not am) in TACT.
For the clue to be accurate, the surface reading as well as the cryptic reading needs to be grammatical. The clue above does not pass muster on the second count.
Is There A Way Out?
Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword suggests an easy solution:
In nearly every case the trouble can be got over by saying "I must be", "I can be", etc., or by using "one".
Which is what Everyman used in puzzle no. 3484, clue 13A. The published clue is:
Everyman 3484: Implied I must be bound by discretion (5)
A related discussion you might find interesting – the comments section of an old blog post of mine at fifteensquared, on puzzle FT13137 by the excellent setter Viking. The point of discussion was the use of "I follow" in clue 9D.
FT13137 (Viking): I follow victor in continually backing rally (6) REVIVE
I after V (victor), in EVER (continually) reversed
Enjoy these clues that successfully counter the "I" dilemma.
Azed 2412: I'll be enthralled by underwear colours (6) ____T_
FT 14212 (Io): I'll get caught by rabid pet on tiptoe (6) P_____
Everyman 3437: As a member of the clergy, I must be found in cathedral (8) M_______
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