I vs Me

In one way or another, you've probably had your grammar corrected. The English language can be confusing, especially when using the personal pronouns I and me. Yet, have you made an effort to correct the mistake or has it been overlooked? Personal pronouns are commonly misused despite how simple it is to identify the right choice.

 

By the end of this lesson, learners will be able to:

  1. Distinguish subjective and objective pronouns; and
  2. Demonstrate the steps to find the correct personal pronoun.

Pronoun Predicament: I vs Me

Pre-train your brain

 

proper noun indicates the name of a person

— Janet, Nick, Robert, and Tina.

personal pronoun replaces the noun that refers to a person (or people)

— I, me, us, and we.

subjective pronoun is the subject of a sentence that performs the action of the verb. 

 — I, he, she, you, and we.

An objective pronoun is the object of a sentence receiving the action of the verb.

 — me, him, her, you, and us.

 

Study the details

Although there are many personal pronouns, this lesson will only focus on the two singular first-person pronouns I and me.

Subjective pronouns

  • They are personal pronouns in the subjective case — I, he, she, you, and we
  • They are located before the verb
  • They perform the action of the verb

Examples

He and I walked to class.

Eventually, Nicole and I went home.

Objective pronouns

  • They are personal pronouns in the objective case — me, him, her, you, and us.
  • They are located after the verb
  • They receive the action of the verb

Examples

Megan watched Brandon and me drive away.

Then, the cop pulled you and me over.

Do you see a pattern?

I is a subjective pronoun and me is an objective pronoun

Place the pronoun in the right spot

  • I
  • me

Elimination process

 

Now that you're familiar with the relevant terms, consider using this process to find the right pronoun.

Identify the correct use of I or me by eliminating the other person from the sentence.

Repeat the modified sentence, then ask yourself: does the sentence make sense?

Let's see some examples.

 Suppose you're about to say, "he told Laura and I to get ready." 

First, use these steps to see if you're right.

  1. Eliminate the other person from the sentence.
  2. Repeat and indicate if grammatically correct.
      He told Laura and I to get ready
(1) He told _________ to get ready

(2) Does it make sense?

If you interpreted the modified sentence correctly, you then realize that "he told I to get ready" is grammatically incorrect.

So, what now?

After the two steps, if the remaining pronoun does not make sense then it should be switched to the opposite singular first person pronoun.

Remember, here we're only using either I or me.

For the example above, since "he told I to get ready" is incorrect, we'd switch it to "he told me to get ready.

This gives you the fully correct sentence: "he told laura and me to get ready."

If the pronoun does make sense, you're already using the correct one.

Match the steps

  • Step 1.
  • Step 2.

More details on the elimination process

 

In the first step of the process where the other person is eliminated from the sentence, the "other person" will be either a second person pronoun (you), third person pronoun (she, her, him, he) or a proper noun (Tina, Matt).

Here are examples using all three with both pronouns questioned.

If Katie and (I or me) don't study, we'll fail the test.
If I don't study... Correct
If me don't study... Incorrect
Answer: If Katie and I don't study, we'll fail the test

The gift was for (I or me) and him.
The gift was for I Incorrect
The gift was for me Correct
Answer: The gift was for me and him.

Why don't you and (I or me) take a break?
Why don't I Correct
Why don't me Incorrect
Answer: Why don't you and I take a break?

Demonstrate the process

Sentence: Come visit Olivia and (I or me) at work.

 

Step 1. Eliminate the from the sentence

The other person is , which will make the sentence "Come visit at work."

Step 2. Repeat and decide if the sentence is  

               Does "come visit I at work" make sense?  

               Does "come visit me at work" make sense?  

The fully correct sentence would be "Come visit at work."