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Is it I or me? | Homeschool grammar lessons

by | Jun 2, 2008 | Grammar & Spelling

Is it or me? As children, we were so often corrected for misusing me that many of us think I is always right while me has become the evil impostor.

When we would say, “Me and Rebecca are going to the store,” it’s likely that someone drilled into our young heads: Rebecca and I. Rebecca and I. Rebecca and I.

Which Is It: I or Me?

We’ve been led to believe that me sounds common or uneducated, so we overcorrect by saying: Can Sean go to the ballgame with Mark and I? Join Dad and I for breakfast tomorrow. This gift is for you and I.

But contrary to popular belief, I isn’t always refined, educated, OR correct.

Both I and me can be right—or wrong—depending on how you use them.

  • INCORRECT: Do you want to play Monopoly with Vern and I?
  • INCORRECT: Hortense and me are making dinner tonight.
  • CORRECT: Do you want to play Monopoly with Vern and me?
  • CORRECT: Hortense and I are making dinner tonight.

The Basic Rules

Include these basic rules when teaching homeschool grammar lessons.

  • I and me are pronouns.
  • I is always the subject. (EX: I visited; Grandma and I shopped; Hoss and I wrestled)
  • Me is always the object, never the subject. (EX: with me; to Josie and me; for Uncle Elmer and me)
  • Never follow a preposition with I.
  • Never begin a sentence with me.

These rules also apply to they/them, he/him, she/her, and we/us.

Quick Tricks 

During your homeschool grammar lessons, teach your children a few simple tricks to make sense of these rules, such as these I/me tests.

Example: Jonah and me are going to the park.
Test: Remove Jonah from the sentence. Which sounds correct?

Me is/are going.
I am/are going.

You wouldn’t say “Me is going to the park.” You’d say, “I am going to the park.” So “Jonah and I” would be correct.

Example: The pies smelled so good that me and Lauren both bought one.
Test: Remove Lauren from the sentence. Which sounds correct now?

Me bought one.
I bought one.

Thank you for inviting I.
Thank you for inviting me.

Example: Just between you and I . . .
Test: Replace I/me (subjects) with we/us (objects).

Just between we . . . (Nope!)
Just between us . . . (Yes!)

So “between you and me” is correct. Pretty easy once you know the tricks!

Is it I or is it me? As you can see, I isn’t always sophisticated and suave, and me isn’t always unrefined and coarse. Each one plays a role. The trick is to learn what that role is!

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Is it I or me? Do you think "I" sounds refined while "me" sounds common or uneducated? Teach your kids to use each one correctly during homeschool grammar lessons.
Photo: Donnie Ray Jones, courtesy of Creative Commons

Example: Thank you for inviting John and I.
Test: Leave John out. Now which sounds correct?