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

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63 Comments on I vs. Me (Review)

63 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.

    • 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!

    • Christine Miller says:

      Actually I believe it would be this: It’s between her and me. You should always put yourself last.

  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.”


    “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:

        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.

          • Adam says:

            Your explanations make sense, but I think “She is older than me.” works because “she” is the subject and “me” is the object. “She is older than I am.” seems clunky, but I can see how it logically makes sense, but as we know, language doesn’t always work logically, especially when it comes to pronouns.

            I’m going with “me.”

          • Please see our responses to to Deane M. of March 16 and 17, 2015, above.

  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:

    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:

    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:

    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:

    Please clarify this,the statement is
    Mam in this after between you and i or me what should come?


    • 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?

  11. Sally says:

    Even the president said “Thank you, you have been so nice to (name) and I.”

  12. Mac says:

    What about picture caption, “John and I in the museum.” I would tend to say, John and me, but other friends are adamant that John and I are correct. After reading your comments above, I suppose a subject pronoun, I, would be called for her. Correct?

  13. Dale Austin says:

    Here’s the sentence: The newly formed training team (John, Susan, Phyllis, and I) has developed the attached Report Writing Assistance document.
    Is it, …Phyllis, and I, or, …Phyllis, and me?
    Also, is it has, or have, developed the attached…?
    “I have developed” sounds better, but I is included within the parenthetical phrase, so to “sound-test” it, shouldn’t it be read, The newly formed training team has developed…?

    • The subject pronoun I is correct in your sentence.

      Our post Subject and Verb Agreement with Collective Nouns addresses the issue of which verb to use with the noun team. The post says that if the noun is acting as a unit, use a singular verb; and if your sentence indicates more individuality, use a plural verb. Since it seems that the team worked together as a unit to develop the document, we favor using the singular verb has.

  14. Stewart Shane says:

    I so often hear “I vs me” errors in movies and on TV. Why? Do professional writers not know the simple rules regarding nominative and objective pronouns? Or do script writers dumb down their dialogue because they think their audience is stupid or afraid to hear correctly spoken English? Or what? I am so sick of terrible grammar being foisted upon movie goers and TV watchers. I find such grammar errors akin to (or worse than) scratching on a chalkboard.

  15. Jami says:

    Ok I always see people using I and never me when putting captions on their pictures. I’m just wondering if it’s always right or not. Here’s a few examples: Mike and I are having too much fun. Mike and I were at the park. Mike and I at the Lau party. Should these all be I or me??

    • The word “I” is correct in all your examples because it is in the subjective case (i.e., it is part of the sentence subject). In a sentence such as “This is a picture of Mike and me at the park,” the word “me” would be correct because it is in the objective case (i.e., the object of a prepositional phrase). Our Pronouns page contains more information about subject and object pronouns.

  16. Lillian Salmon says:

    Can you tell me if the “I” in this sentence is correct. I believe it’s correct as it is substituting or clarifying the subject of “we.”

    We walked back together, all five of us, my father, my mother, my sister, my brother and I, towards the house we’d just left.

    Thank you.

  17. Paul says:

    When replying to the question “Who is going to the movies?” would “Fred and I” or “Fred and me” be correct/preferable?

    My feeling is that you would complete the sentence and remove ‘Fred’ – “I am going (to the movies)” / “Me am going (to the movies)” and therefore select the former.


  18. Violet says:

    Which one she and I, her and I, or her and me? Which one for this sentence This is a secret between she and I, her and I, or her and me?

  19. Eva Trombino says:

    Is it “Mike, Sally, Harry and me at the golf tournament,” or “Mike, Sally, Harry and I at the golf tournament”?
    I would think it’s “me” because I would say, “me at the golf tournament.”

    • Since your example does not contain a verb, we assume you are using it as a caption. Your most likely meaning is “Mike, Sally, Harry, and I are at the golf tournament.” You are using the subjective case “I” because Mike, Sally, Harry, and I are the subjects of the sentence. Therefore, your shorthand way of writing it would be “Mike, Sally, Harry, and I at the golf tournament.” In the event that you intend your caption to mean “This is a photo of Mike, Sally, Harry, and me at the golf tournament,” then the objective case “Mike, Sally, Harry, and me at the golf tournament” is acceptable.

  20. The Masked Stranger says:

    When you use I/me as an object of a sentence but the obect refers back to the subject, should you use the subject or object form?
    Example: It is me. It is I.
    Which one is correct?

  21. Robert Edwards says:

    Should I say
    “You’re such a disappointment to your father and I”
    “You’re such a disappointment to your father and me”?

    • “You’re such a disappointment to your father and me” is correct because father and me are objects of the preposition to. If you leave out “your father,” you will be able to hear that the correct answer is the object pronoun me. You would not say “You’re such a disappointment to I.”

  22. samantha says:

    I have a question. In the sentence “Tamara and (she/her) photographed the northern lights,” is the correct answer “she”? It has to be according to my grammar notes, but it just sounds so weird. I hope you can answer. Thank you.

  23. Dennis Baker says:

    “It cheered Grandma and me up.” Is this correct? My granddaughter thinks it should be “and I up.” Please help to solve this. Thank you.

  24. Rose says:

    It rives me insane when I see posts of photos that say, “This is a photo of Sally and I at the beach.” (Simply remove Sally and to test how it sounds.) I think to some people it sounds more “sophisticated” or at least is the only thing I can think of! But it drives me insane! And no one will listen to me! It’s as if the rules of grammar have changed, and I’m not some kind of grammar police either, it’s just that it’s so common now my own child won’t listen to me anymore on the subject and I have to hear this all the time from my own kid too!

  25. Bob says:

    Is the use of I correct in this example?

    “The heartfelt thoughts of my colleagues and I remain with the families involved in this absolutely tragic incident.“

  26. Matthew Clarke says:

    I have an example:
    George, like Raphael and I, was a natural sportsman with the ability and cool, mental resolve to have gone further in whatever sport he chose. Is this right or wrong? Thanks.

    • Like is a preposition. Pronouns following it are objects of the preposition. Therefore, use the object pronoun me. Also, there should not be a comma after cool because the order of cool and mental is not interchangeable:

      George, like Raphael and me, was a natural sportsman with the ability and cool mental resolve to have gone further in whatever sport he chose.

  27. Catherine says:

    I put my American 6 year old in 1st grade in Spain where he had to learn some Spanish. Now that we are back in the US, he continues to use some of the Spanish grammar, which seems to translate to “overly” formal spoken English. If I ask him, “who won the game?” he replies, “I.” Every bone in my body wants to “correct” him and tell him the response should be “me,” but when I think it through, I think “I” is technically correct as it would be “yo” in Spanish. Right? But what kid going into 2nd grade talks like that? grammar parenting dilemma here!

    • The complete reply would be “I won the game,” or “I did”; therefore, grammatically the subject pronoun I is correct. However, in spoken English, object pronouns are often used as a quick answer to a question. Many native speakers would answer, “Me,” which has become acceptable. You could just encourage your son to “finish his sentence” and say, “I did,” or, if it was a team sport, “We did.”

  28. Darius says:

    Is this appropriate use of I vs. me?

    “Food and dining have always been important to Matthew and I.”

    What’s the best alternative if not?

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