Grammar tips: Is it I or me?
Is it I 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
- 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 begin a sentence with me.
These rules also apply to they/them, he/him, she/her, and we/us.
You and your children will enjoy learning a few simple tricks to make sense of these rules. Here are some samples and quick 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.
Example: You were so kind to John and I.
Test: Leave John out. Now which sounds correct?
You were so kind to I.
You were so kind to 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!
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!
Copyright © 2008 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
Photo: Donnie Ray Jones, courtesy of Creative Commons
Sign up for the WriteShop list to get your free 33 printable word bank prompts.