There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for I vs. Me

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. 
SaumyaJulie, and I covet the massive library in Beauty and the Beast
• 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


Kyra Lennon said...

This is such a great post! I have always had trouble with I and me, and I only recently learned the rules properly! I am sure this post will help a lot of people. :D

Damyanti said...

You're/ Your ---that bugs me.

Look forward to your challenge run…
--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Bish Denham said...

This is a excellent explanation of how the pronouns are used. Thanks.

Shelley Sly said...

Valuable post as always!

I can't stand obvious grammar issues in songs, especially that Lady Gaga song from a few years ago: "You and ME could write a bad romance." If you take out the You, it's just "Me could write a bad romance." Ha.

Clarissa Draper said...

I love charts! This is a great one. I have a similar one to this. Now, if you ever do a post on affect/effect, that would be wonderful. I always get confused.

S.P. Bowers said...

great post. I hear people using those wrong quite a bit. Kudos to you for doing the A-Z challenge I'm in awe of everyone who can commit to that.

Julie Dao said...

I love that you and I both covet the Beauty and the Beast library!! Fantastic post, Laura. I hear people using "me" and "I" incorrectly ALL THE TIME. It drives me crazy when people caption their photos "My boyfriend and I" on Facebook *rips out hair*

Bluestocking said...

The missuse of I/me is so widespread I've started to second guess myself!Thanks for the review!

Rena said...

Love this post. And glad you stopped by my blog. It's ok if you wanna point out any errors that you see. I may be an English teacher and editor, but I'm not perfect. And I definitely require a second set of eyes when it comes to my own work.

Anyhoo, nice to meet you.

Jayne said...

You are very good at explaining this! As for grammar mistakes... I feel a bit sorry for missing apostrophes. But you know what really bugs me? Shops that spell words wrong to be cute. Like a hairdresser called Krazy Kuts. I hate that with a passion!

Pat Carroll Marcantel said...

How wonderful to see this in print and in an easily understood format! This usage has bugged me since I took a grammar course in college. It is one of the most stumbled-over/bungled-over mistakes in all of grammar. Thank you. And thanks for the nice note on my Poem-a-Day site.
Love your blog!

Dana said...

Love this post! I'm always correcting my husband because he uses "I" in prepositions. I need to be careful about just how much correcting I do, though. Don't want to end up in divorce court! :)

Sabrina A. Fish said...

Great post. I admit to getting them confused in that I can't just use them without thinking like others. I have to actually stop and say the sentences slowly to figure it out then I will actually allow myself to say them out loud. *sigh* My brain just can't seem to stay up to speed on this one.

Visiting from A to Z! New follower.

Jemi Fraser said...

Thank you! The misuse of this one drives me bonkers! I hate when people use something incorrectly thinking it makes them sound smarter... *sigh*

judysnwnotes said...

THis post is fun - and informative. I get the selections correctly MOST of the time, but the challenge example points up the one I will miss when I'm not paying attention, when I write in the same lingo as conversation where "me" would sound comfortable.

You've got me hooked -- I'll be back for me!

Donna Shields said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for the brush up. My peeve is when using he/she and him/her in conjunction with another object/person. As in:

Him and I are running to the store.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. When you take 'and I' out if there, it doesn't make sense. 'Him is running to the store.' It should be: He and I are running to the store.

My daughter used to drive me crazy with this.

Grammy said...

Hi, marvelous grammatical post. It's wonderful to see someone else finds it irritating to have the language so mutilated by misuse.
Best regards to you. Ruby

Laura Marcella said...

Kyra- Thank you! I'm good at grammar, but even I still use grammar incorrectly sometimes. It's too easy to speak like everyone else speaks. At least when i use it wrong, I know I am and know how to correct it!

Damyanti- That one is often misused! I'll have to feature it for a future 5 for Friday grammar post.

Bish- Thanks! I'm glad you found it useful.

Shelley- Bad grammar is all over song lyrics! There's a Jessica Simpson song called "Between You and I" and it bugs the heck out of me, LoL.

Clarissa- I did feature affect/effect in a grammar post last September! I linked to it at the end of this post. :)

S.P.- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Thank you very much! It's a lot of work but a lot of fun, too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Julie- Some day we will have that library!!!

Bluestocking- Now you don't have to! Hope this helped!

Rena- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I'm good at grammar and I still make mistakes. I'm just glad I know how to fix it when I write something incorrectly! Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!

Jayne- That bugs me so much, too!!! Ever since I was a little kid it annoyed me. I just couldn't understand why they'd want to spell it wrong, hahaha. Now I get that they do it because it stands out, is catchy and cutesy, but it still bugs me!

Laura Marcella said...

Pat- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! This one is misused all the time even among people who speak to the public for a living (broadcasters, commentators, anchors, etc.). Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!

Dana- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! LoL, I totally hear you!! My husband is used to it by now since we've known each other since we were kids. Phew, good thing, too! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!

Sabrina- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! That's okay. I still have to do with some grammar, like affect/effect. It's better to pause, think about it, and get it right then write it incorrectly! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!

Jemi- I really think that's why they do it! They've been misinformed. Our language doesn't really have formal speak, unlike other languages (such as usted in Spanish to address others of higher authority).

Judy- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Oh sure, sometimes me just sounds better, especially when you're in a group of people. They might think the correct use of I sounds uppity or something, haha! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Donna- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Yup, absolutely! I focused on I and Me here, but the other pronouns follow the same rules, as shown in the chart! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Ruby- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I'm a grammar wordnerd for sure! I used to love diagramming sentences. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Laura! Great post. Thanks for sharing the chart and the examples.


J.L. Campbell said...

Good stuff, Laura. When I have a doubt about whether it's I or me, reading the sentence aloud using both, usually does the trick.

danneromero said...

awesome... a lesson a day.. keeps the... brain full. :)

Joanne said...

I, me, or Yo - that's Philly speak.
Great post and you pointed out very good stuff. Fun A to Z so far. Thanks

Hallie said...

Hi! Love your post. One of my pet peeves is the excessive use of "myself" for "me". I think this is another example of people thinking it sounds smarter, but really, why use a longer word when a short one will do in most cases? And don't even get me started on using "myself" for "I". "Joe and myself will help Betty." Stop the insanity or I will stop it myself!

J.W. Alden said...

This is something that does drive me a little nuts when I hear people misuse it. The "me and X" or "X and I" swap seems to be the most common misuse.

What's funny is that sometimes I'll do incorrectly on purpose when writing dialogue (if it makes sense for the character), and it will still bother me when I read it back!

Great post!

J.W. Alden

Laura Marcella said...

Susanne- Thank you! I'm glad you liked it and hope it's helpful.

Joy- You're right! That's a great way, but it can be deceiving sometimes!

Danneromero- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! It's always good to learn something each day. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Joanne- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Hahaha, yup, glad you liked it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Hallie- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! That is one of my pet peeve, too!!! My in-laws misuse that all the time, but luckily I've gotten my husband almost out of that habit! I already have a future post ready for the possessive pronouns. I just couldn't fit it in the A to Z because I had other ideas! Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!

J.W.- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! LoL, I hear you! Sometimes writers have to write incorrect dialogue for characters because that's how people speak. It bugs me, too, when I have to write it that way! We must make it as authentic as possible, though. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

nitasbooks said...

Yes, thank you! The last examples with "than" don't bother me as much because I've become resigned to the fact that language changes, but people should definitely know the difference between "I" and "me" so they don't keep overcorrecting all the time....

(I also covet the Beauty and the Beast library :D)

Tny8 said...

I admit I still mess up lie/lay but seeing you're/your and loose/lose mixed up makes me cry inside.

Laura Marcella said...

Nita- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! You're absolutely right! Language changes and incorrect grammar becomes more acceptable... though that sure does bug me! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

Tny8- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Life/Lay trip me up, too. I have to pause and think a second before writing it. Hopefully I'm mostly right! ;) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!