Okay, listen up: the pronoun I is NOT more intelligent sounding or more proper or more correct than the pronoun me. There is a proper and correct time to use the pronoun I and a proper and correct time to use the pronoun me.
I think most people get confused with these pronouns because they think using I all the time sounds more intelligent or more formal. It doesn’t! It especially doesn’t sound so smart when used incorrectly.
First of all, check out this helpful chart I made about subjective personal pronouns and objective personal pronouns:
People seem to use we/us and they/them (and you & it since it’s the same in the singular and plural) correctly for the most part. But for some reason, I/me are the trickiest pronouns.
I is the first person singular subject pronoun, which refers to the person performing the action of a verb.
• I went to the store.
• It was I who answered the phone. (This one is tricky! Most people would say me, but ask yourself: Who answered the phone? Who is doing the action? I am doing the action. Would you say, Me answered the phone? Nope.)
Me is an object pronoun that refers to the person the action of a verb is being done to (the target of the action) or to which a preposition refers.
• What happened is between you and me. (Me is an object of the preposition between.)
• She tells me everything.
• Your child may ask me or the librarian.
Another tricky one:
My husband is taller than I.
My husband is taller than me.
Which sentence is correct?
If you said the first one, you know your stuff! The full meaning of the sentence is this: My husband is taller than I [am tall]. Than is a conjunction, meaning it connects two complete sentences: My husband is taller AND the implied I am tall. Would you say, My husband is taller than me am tall? Of course not! (Like and as are also conjunctions in this way.) Other examples: I am hungrier than he [is hungry]; You are smarter than they [are smart]; Nobody plans a party like she [plans a party]. They are more athletic than we [are athletic]. It does sound weird, but sometimes weird is the right way to go!
Phew! I hope that helps. Remember, the pronoun I is not an intelligent or formal replacement for the pronoun me. Both pronouns have their own proper, correct, and smart usage!
*Use the objective personal pronouns–me, him, her, us, them–after these prepositions (sing to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”; that’s how I learned it in 5th grade and never forgot!): about, above, across, after, against, among, around, at, before, behind, beside, between, beyond, by, down, during, except, for, from, in, into, near, of, off, on, over, past, through, throughout, to, toward, under, until, up, & with!
What grammar mistakes bug you? I hope you’re having a terrific week so far, Zigzaggers!!
Past Grammar Posts:
Grammar Pet Peeves Part 1 featuring lay/lie, affect/effect, bad/badly, a lot/plethora, less/fewer
Grammar Pet Peeves Part 2 featuring passed/past, hone/home, a while/awhile, that/which, italics/quotations/underlining