February 13, 2019

I or Me? A Simple Test to Get It Right


Save the Bunnies!
© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.
I have a pet peeve related to grammar.

Ok, ok, I have several.  BUT...

I want to address one that I see daily on social media and in email messages.

It's driving me crazy.

(And every time you do it, a bunny rabbit dies.)

When referring to you and someone else in a sentence, please make sure you use the correct pronoun (me or I) for you.

Lately, I've seen people use "I" when they should use "me" and vice versa. Every instance cranks me a little closer to crazy...and a bunny rabbit dies.

I'm kidding, but it does bug me.

Ok, so how do you know which pronoun to use?  I could put this in grammar terms (subject or object of the verb), but I find most people do better with a simple test. Next time you're faced with the question of which pronoun to use, do the following:

Drop the other person out of the statement and notice which word works. That's the one you use.

For example, look at these two sentences:


  • Joe is taking Janie and me to the movies.
  • Joe is taking Janie and I to the movies.


Now let's run the test:

  • Joe is taking me to the movies.
  • Joe is taking I to the movies.


We say, "Joe is taking me to the movies," so when we add Janie to the mix, we still use "me."

Here's another example:

  • Janie and I are going to the movies.
  • Janie and me are going to the movies.


The test:

  • I'm going to the movies.
  • Me am going to the movies.


Ouch! This one is painfully obvious. You would never say, "Me am..."  So the correct phrasing uses "I."

If you'll take a moment to check this before you press send or post something on social media, you'll help me stay sane a little longer.  (And a bunny rabbit doesn't have to die.)

That's all it takes, just a second or two.


Please. I'm begging you.


2 comments:

Skip Pfaff said...

The misuse of the first-person pronoun, the subjective form “I” as opposed to the objective form “me” bugs you, does it? Having no wish to expedite the demise of the bunny, much less sending you over the precipice, I just have to mention that which causes me to slide a bit closer to derangement each time I encounter it.
It lies in the situation where either “I” or “me” is correct when used in the same sentence, i.e. He is taller than I or He is taller than me. The grammar feature in my beloved MS Word doesn’t complain about either. I guess the grammarians hang their hats on the fact that the word “than” can be used as either a conjunction or a preposition. When the subjective “I” is used, “than” is a conjunction in a compound sentence elliptical without an ellipsis. I reckon those damnable little dots that aren’t there would represent the word “am” which I suppose is inferred. When the objective “me” is used, “than” is a preposition. I perceive no measurable difference in the meaning of either sentence which makes me crazy and endangers that bunny.

Barbara V. Evers said...

Skip, I found this online:

The answer is a little complicated, but it can function like a preposition and like a conjunction depending on the usage.

First, consider these two sentences:

He is taller than me.
He is taller than I (am).
In the first sentence than is similar to a preposition (followed by me, technically in accusative or oblique case), but in the second sentence it is similar to a conjunction because it is followed by a clause with a subject (I, technically in nominative case) and also optionally a verb. These two sentences are both normal usage in modern spoken English.

There is more info to this post, I just grabbed the most essential part. Here's the link to the full article.

https://www.quora.com/Is-%E2%80%9C-than%E2%80%9D-a-conjunction