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Tips from the Grammar Guru: I vs. Me

The age-old confusion surrounding “I vs. Me” has likely tricked us all at some time or another. I can still hear my English teacher’s voice chiming away “you and I, not you and me.” However, that’s not always true – so let’s set the record straight.

I and me are both first person pronouns, meaning they allow the speaker to refer to themselves without using their name. The problem here is that while they have the same definition, they are used in different situations.

I is a subjective pronoun. This means it functions as the subject of a sentence – the person who performs the action. Example: I ate an apple.

Me is an objective pronoun. This means it functions as the object in a sentence – typically seen after verbs or prepositions. Example: The man greeted me.

Bottom line: I is a subject, me is an object.

Most errors surrounding these words occur when they are used in conjunction with another pronoun; Him and ____, You and ____, etc. Which are right?

  • Where should Jill and I meet you? (Correct)
  • Where should Jill and me meet you? (Wrong)

I is correct here because it performs the role of a subject – it is completing an action.

  • The puppy licked Dave and I. (Wrong)
  • The puppy licked Dave and me. (Correct)

Me is correct here because it serves as an object – it is receiving the action.

If you’re still a little unsure about the usage of these two words, here’s a good trick to help you remember.

When you find yourself confused about which is appropriate to use, remove the other person from the sentence and try it out with just “I” or “me”.

You should be able to hear which sounds right pretty quickly.

  • Steve and (me or I?) want to go to the store.
  • Me want to go to the store.
  • I want to go to the store.

Clearly, I is the correct choice here. Hopefully this will become intuitive after some practice, but for now, use this trick to help you get by and avoid silly mistakes.

This post courtesy of MMC Summer 2019 Intern Bianca Price.

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