I vs. Me (Review)


We get more questions about pronoun usage, particularly I vs. me, than any other topic. So, here is a review that should help you feel more secure about your choices. For more on the topic, click here.

Should we say, “She and I went to the store”? Or is it correct to say, “She and me went to the store”?

Is it, “He put suntan lotion on him and I”? Or would you say, “He put suntan lotion on him and me”?

Many of us were taught to be suspicious of me, as though uttering this “dirty” word would make us sound uneducated. But the question of whether to use I or me comes down to whether you are using the word as a subject or as an object in the sentence. Both words are pronouns, but I is a subject pronoun while me is an object pronoun.

So, in the sentence, “She and I went to the store,” the correct word to use would be I rather than me. Why? Because I is the subject of the sentence. (Who is going to the store? She and I are going to the store.)

One good way to test this rule is to see how it sounds when you use each pronoun individually: It sounds right to say, “She went to the store.” You would also say, “I went to the store.”

“He put suntan lotion on him and me” would be correct because him and me are objects. Specifically, they are objects of the preposition on. “He put suntan lotion on him” is obviously correct rather than “on he.” You would also say, “He put suntan lotion on me,” not “on I.”

Pop Quiz
Select the correct sentence.

1A. Arlene asked he and I to complete the job.
1B. Arlene asked him and me to complete the job.

2A. He and I completed the job for Arlene.
2B. Him and me completed the job for Arlene.

Answers to Pop Quiz

1B. Arlene asked him and me to complete the job.
2A. He and I completed the job for Arlene.

Posted on Tuesday, June 9, 2009, at 9:30 am

23 Comments on I vs. Me (Review)

23 responses to “I vs. Me (Review)”

  1. Rolan Ramos says:

    Here’s one that drives me nuts: Its between she and I.

    –Of course, that’s completely wrong.

    It’s between me and her.

    And another: Anymore, we have

    • Some dictionaries note that anymore is widely used in regional American English in sentences with the meaning “nowadays.” However, it would not be acceptable in formal English.

      • Lea Thomas says:

        Seeing this thread made me smile.

        I was raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and in a small community a two-hour drive north of it, and as an adult spent time in Hamilton Ontario (medium-sized city not far from Toronto) and in Toronto. It was only upon coming to Peterborough, Ontario about 20 years ago that I came across this use of “anymore,” which I must admit drives me crazy! I thought it was specific to this geographic area–was surprised to learn it’s more widespread!

  2. Ann M. says:

    While I was watching “Death Comes to Pemberley” on PBS the past couple of nights, I noticed several instances of “poor grammar” coming out of the mouths of the early 19th century English gentry. They repeatedly used “I” in place of “me” as a direct or indirect object, e.g., “He brought John and I home.” or “He gave Lydia and I a book.” There were a couple of other oddities, as well, which I cannot recall at the moment. Is this, as I fear, the result of poorly educated 21st century actors & directors, who are attempting to sound “proper” ? Or, is it possible that 19th century Brits actually spoke in that affected manner? I could Google it, but I thought I might see if you have any information about “old fashioned” grammar.

  3. Deane M. says:

    Can’t seem to find this question addressed on your website nor can I find a Blog for it.

    Can you settle a bet? Which is correct :

    “She is older than I.”…….as In “Older than I am old.”

    or

    “She is older than me.”

    I’m going with “Me.”

    • Sorry, Deane, but you’re going to lose that bet. You can find the answer in Rule 7 of Pronouns. As you guessed at first, you must mentally complete the sentence: “She is older than I [am].”

      • Deane M. says:

        Dang.
        This was my reasoning :
        “Than” is a preposition (right?) and as such takes the objective case, i.e., Me, You, He, Her, Us, Them—which is why we say “Between you and me” rather than “Between you and I”.
        What am I doing wrong? I defer to you guys!
        Thanks for your answer.

        • We need to separate formal English grammar from informal spoken English. Yes, between is a preposition, but than is formally considered to be a conjunction. You may commonly hear “She is older than me” in speech, but that would be considered incorrect by most critics and editors in written form.

  4. sorowar kamal says:

    I & my wife are going to Spain.2,My wife & I are going to Spain.3.My wife & I am going to Spain . Which one is correct? Please mention the rules about order of person & auxillary verb.Thanks

    • My wife and I are going to Spain is the best choice. Use the plural “are going” with two subjects connected by and. Listing yourself second is generally preferred in formal prose. We do not recommend the use of the ampersand (&) in formal prose.

  5. Ann F says:

    Hello. Thank you for the posting. I will have to read what else you have linked.

    What bothers me at times is when people say “I had went” (mostly in the south do I hear this). I sometimes feel like correcting by saying, “It’s I WENT, or had GONE”. But because I know I’m not perfect, I hold my tongue.

  6. Linea says:

    I’ve heard many people, including those in screenplays use the phrase, “Me & Roger went to town.” I was taught that the pronoun “I” is to be used with the other person’s name or pronoun first, as in, “Roger & I went to town.” Has this usage changed? Or is it just popular usage now? My friend who does this consistently told me when I asked her that she was told by a therapist to always put herself first. Your thoughts?
    Thank you.

    • Our post I vs. Me says, “Use one of the subject pronouns when it is the subject of the sentence.” Therefore, the pronoun I is correct in your sentence. Regarding which name to put first, it is grammatical courtesy for the writer to place his or her name last unless there is a good reason to do otherwise.

  7. Carlos says:

    Hi. I tried to convey that ‘we (my girlfriend and I), along with another person (she), are going to the mall.’ I said, “She and we are going to the mall,” and then, after being ridiculed, cited this pronoun trick for me and I. My sentence sounded weird, but was it grammatically incorrect? Thank you!

    • Although she and we are correct as subject pronouns in your example sentence, using them together sounds awkward. We recommend rewriting the sentence. The following are some examples:
      The three of us are going to the mall.
      We are all going to the mall.
      She is going with us to the mall.
      We are going with Jennifer to the mall.

  8. Marc says:

    Hello and thank you for the information. Just for clarification, if the pronoun is the object, as in her/she and i, is it also used with a past tense action? I normally use the sound rule of splitting the pronouns and rereading. However, she were talking and I were talking do not fit this. It is still, “She and I were talking”, correct?

    • She and I are subject pronouns. They are used in both present and past tense. Using them together as the subject of a sentence makes the subject plural, therefore were is used as the verb. Using a singular subject, such as she or I, requires the singular verb was.

  9. shashank says:

    respected mam
    Please clarify this,the statement is
    BETWEEN YOU AND I,I AM CONVINCED THAT SHE IS GOOD PLAYER.
    Mam in this after between you and i or me what should come?

    thanks

    • Between is a preposition. Pronouns following it are objects of the preposition. I is a subject pronoun while me is an object pronoun. Therefore, write “Between you and me, I am convinced that she is a good player.”

  10. Marlys says:

    The only things missing are me and Sheila or Sheila and I?

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