Saturday, January 31, 2015

When to use "me" versus "I", quick and easy.

This will be a quick and simple explanation of when to use "me" and when to use "I" in a sentence.  There is no need to go into the technical explanation and talk about pronouns, subjects, objects, etc.  You don't really need to know those details to understand the huge majority of use cases.

Grammar Versus Etiquette:

Referring to yourself after the other people in the sentence is etiquette.   "John and I...", "Mary, Dave and me..."    Whether you should use "me" or "I" is grammar and there is a right way and a wrong way for correct grammar.  While perhaps saying, "I and Dave...", might be grammatically correct in certain cases, saying, "Dave and I..." is using the proper etiquette.   You refer to everyone else first, and then yourself.

Dave and I went to dinner after the movie.
I and Dave went to dinner after the movie.

Both of these are grammatically correct but only the first one is proper when referring to etiquette.


Once you learn the following trick you'll likely never get it wrong again.

All you need to do is say or write the sentence first with only yourself in it.

Please send an email to me after this meeting with that information.
Do you want to volunteer with me this Saturday at church?

Now add the other people to the sentence and DO NOT CHANGE anything else.

Example, following the above examples:
Please send an email to Tom and me after this meeting with that information.
Do you want to volunteer with Shawn and me this Saturday at church?

That's it!   If you aren't sure which to use, remove the other people from the sentence and see if it sounds right.   Nothing changes just because you refer to other people along with yourself.  That's where so many people trip up.

People remember their childhood and saying something like, "Jimmy and me were at the park" and their mother says, "No, it's Jimmy and I."    Yes, that is correct, in that specific sentence!  That doesn't mean that it's always "Jimmy and I."

People also say this when correcting someone else, "No, it's Kelly and I, you wouldn't say Kelly and me went to the store."

If I just said to that same person, "Did you tell them hello for Kelly and me?" and he followed up with that response, he would be incorrect.

Do not use a completely different sentence as an example because it could very well be different!

Another rule that is almost almost the case is to never end a sentence with "and I."   It will almost always be correct to use "and me."  (Maybe 100% of the time.)

Do want to to go with him and me?
Do you want to go to the movie with Trish and me?

Other Examples/Questions:

When adding a comment to a photo, such as online to tell people who is in the photo, you would use "me" if just listing the names.    ("Mom and me", "Margo, Albert and me")   The logic is that if it was just a photo of you, you wouldn't write, "I", right?

However, like previously explained, if you write out a sentence then you use the same rules applied above.    "This is me in the park", "This is my mom and me in the park."

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