I, Me, Mine
edited: Sunday, March 13, 2005
By C. E. Barrett
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2005
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Hard to believe, but many people still don't know when to use "I" or "me" in English. Look here for an easy to remember rule.
So many of us, while growing up, misused “me” so much and were corrected so often that we should have been using “I” instead, now use “I” when “me” is called for. This has really become a huge pet peeve of mine because the rule of when to use I or me is one of the easiest rules in English grammar.
First, we have to go back to subject and object, nominative case and objective case; in other words: I, he, she, they and we versus me, him, her, them and us. When we use pronouns as the subject of the sentence, the one doing the action, then we have to use subjective case. I went to the store. He bought a new pen. They ran down the street. When the pronoun is the object of the action, whether direct: Susan kissed him. or indirect: Larry gave a bottle of wine to us. the necessary case is the objective.
Where people get carried away and make all kinds of mistakes is when you have more than one pronoun or a name and a pronoun. We probably all remember saying “My friend and me went to the store” and being corrected to say “My friend and I went to the store” instead. And correctly so. Drop “My friend” and you have “me went to the store” versus “I went to the store” and it’s easy to see what’s right.
What I keep hearing and reading nowadays is this: “They gave a party for Susan and I” or “They held a benefit for him and I” or sometimes “for he and I” and all of these samples set my brain on edge. Just as in the samples in the paragraph above, where we dropped the other person to find out whether me or I went to the store, so do we drop out the other person in these samples. What we are left with is: “They gave a party for I”, “They held a benefit for I” and we’re not even going to talk about “for he and I” because it’s so blatantly wrong.
If the party was for me, then it was for Susan and me. If something was given to me, then it was to him and me, her and me, them and me. Do not mix and match the cases: no “she and him”, “her and I”, or “us and they”. I am not the only editor who will view this sort of disregard of grammar and proper English with a jaundiced eye and toss the story or article aside without reading any farther.
Remember this simple rule: reduce the sentence to its simplest form and find out if it requires nominative case (subject doing or being) or objective (object being acted on), correct the pronoun and then add in the other people. You won’t go wrong with that, unless you have no grasp of grammar whatsoever, and in that case, perhaps a remedial English course would not be a bad idea.