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I vs. Me (Review)

I 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


4 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.

  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.

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