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Me vs. I

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  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Although these two are written and pronounced completely differently, "me" and "I" are often used interchangeably or used in the wrong context.

Let's uncover the main difference between them and the correct ways to use these words!

Me vs. I

The main difference between "me" and "I" is very easy to remember, as it simply refers to the pronoun type. More exactly, "I" is always used as a subject, while "me" is used as an object. This small and simple difference actually dictates in which situations you should use each. Let's take a closer look at these situations!

When do we use "I"?

As "I" represents a subject, it is therefore used to indicate the person who performs an action, the subject of a sentence or phrase:

Example 1: I went to the theatre with Chuck.

Example 2: Chuck and I went to the theatre.

In both cases, the word "I" is referring to the person who performed the action, who went to a certain place and therefore is the subject of the message.

When do we use "me"?

"Me" is used as the direct or indirect object in a sentence and is always used to express the object of the message. A good trick to remember whether you should use "me" in a phrase would be to ask the question "to whom?", or "for who"? If "me" answers any of these questions, then it is certainly an object and should be used in the sentence.

Example 1: Casey gave Sarah and me tickets to his show. - Here, "me" refers to the person who received something. The question you might ask is "Whom has Casey given his tickets to?". The answer would not be: Casey gave I a ticket.

Example 2: This gift is for me. - answering the question "for who?", "me" is used correctly in this context as it expresses the object who receives something.

Example 3: She told me to go away. - Again, answering the question "Whom?", the object "me" supports the action of the verb.

Conclusion

If you are able to make the distinction between the subject and the object of a sentence, you should be equipped to understand whether you should use "I" or "me". Remember the examples discussed above and you won't be confused anymore.

Me vs. I

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13 Comments
  • danteh.95055
    No part of the above is easy - I'm all for grammar being explained but you start by saying people get it wrong. That's because it's not easy, worse then is when you say it's 'very easy'. Which is just patronising. 
    LikeReplyReport2 months ago
  • maja_s
    Hi, why is it called "Marley and Me" if the abovementioned rules apply in each case? Recently, I watched the movie, it's old, but this was my first time watching it in full. I still get confused about rules regarding "me vs. I" 
    LikeReplyReport4 months ago
  • emdash
    How do you explain to a person for whom English is a second language that in the below sentence, he should use 'me' and not "I" and the 'for' can be omitted?


    Would you like for I to send it to you as a PDF?


    I suggested he write "Would you like me to send it to you as a PDF?"
     
    LikeReplyReport5 months ago
  • francenestarr
    What about in a title, as for a photo: MY BROTHER AND I LOOKING CUTE
    LikeReplyReport9 months ago
    • astro_f
      In this case you leave out the explicit verb 'to be'. This is called an
      ellipsis ('omission') and happens especially often (but not
      exclusively) with the verb to be. Here, the full text would be 'My
      brother and I *are* looking cute', and without your brother 'I (am)
      looking cute'. Clearly 'Me am looking cute' is wrong, so 'I' is correct
      here.
       
      LikeReplyReport7 months ago
    • imjdcodd
      Wouldn't the omission be the reference to the photo?

      "This photo shows my brother and me looking cute"
      LikeReplyReport 36 months ago
  • stephenw.52630
    This is a great topic, by the way.

    Something I hear with great regularity is when a person is the object of a verb or preposition along with another individual and uses "I" when the correct word is "me." For example: "My daughter bought tickets to the theater for my wife and I." Or "Our neighbors came to the movies with my wife and I." No one would ever say "the tickets are for I" or "Do you want to come with I to the movies?" Somehow, somewhere a lot of people in our society heard "me" as being wrong and are now correcting a mistake that doesn't exist. Like many grammar related issues, this one gets on my nerves! Or maybe I should say "gets on I's nerves," LOL. 
    LikeReplyReport 41 year ago
    • brianm.68366
      I totally agree, Stephen! I find many people automatically assume "I" is more erudite and so use it in the place of "me" without reasoning out the case…
      LikeReplyReport 312 months ago
    • astro_f
      I get cracks in the enamel of my teeth whenever I listen to Michael Jackson's (otherwise great) song Thriller: "Now is the time, for you and I to cuddle close together.". You'd think someone in their team would have spotted this. But then again, perhaps they have stronger teeth. 
      LikeReplyReport 17 months ago
  • BeKindToOthers
    Please reconsider example one: "Casey gave Sarah and me his guns." Other people should be referenced before oneself. Thank you.
    LikeReplyReport 21 year ago
    • Soulwriter
      This is correct. I've also replaced the common noun to 'ticket' - much friendlier than guns ;) Thanks for spotting this!
      LikeReplyReport 31 year ago
  • rhoneyman
    Should be me vs should be I. Former sounds right; latter not so much. Take it out of the passive voice and it's clearly, I should.
    LikeReplyReport 31 year ago
  • David Bikker
    David Bikker
    Except that I always hear "Is it him or me?" and not "Is it he or I?".
    LikeReplyReport 12 years ago
    • Max Klein
      Max Klein
      That's why grammar should always be descriptive, not prescriptive... If you hold on to a principle established by a set rule and don't use the language like the people around you use it, you'll eventually end up being misunderstood... or not understood at all.... Of hem that written ous tofore the bokes duelle, and we therfore ben tawht of that was write tho 
      LikeReplyReport 32 years ago
    • Jorge Jimenez
      Jorge Jimenez
      Max Klein Is "it"(object) him or me?
      LikeReplyReport 22 years ago
    • stephenw.52630
      Mmm, sometimes. I would agree that being hard and fast about the rules can get you in trouble, but the counterargument is that going along with the crowd when the crowd is wrong, is also a bad idea.
      LikeReplyReport 31 year ago
    • astro_f
      The verb 'to be' is an exception, in that it does not have an object but a predicate nominative instead. The reason is that if "X is Y", then also "Y is X". Hence X and Y have an equal status and both are nominative. 
      LikeReplyReport7 months ago
  • Megan Zaila Wasiak
    Megan Zaila Wasiak
    Should It be here Healthy Body and Me or Healthy Body and I
    LikeReplyReport 22 years ago
    • Max Klein
      Max Klein
      Since the question whether it's "me" ord "I" is determined by syntax, it doesn't make any sense to answer this question as long as your example lacks a complete syntax... it'd be:
      Healthy Body and I went out to the park. (subject case)
      but:
      The people in the park saw Healthy Body and me hand out free yogurt samples in the park. (object case)
      The word "and" doesn't change a thing... you can have 100 ands - and it'd still require noun phrases in the respective case... e.g.

      The people in the park saw me and her and him and your moma and a flying tortellini monster and Herb McBurb and some pony smugglers dancing....
       
      LikeReplyReport 32 years ago
  • Max Klein
    Max Klein
    In contemporary English, "me" is also used with copula verbs. People who say "Hey, It is I" on the phone instead of "Hey it's me" are considered "schmocks" by the CFGE (Comprehensive F***ing Grammar of English, Havard University Press, 2020, second edition).... and the child that says "I too" when asked by their friends: "who wants ice cream" is less likely to end up with ice cream... so "me too" is correct as proven by this empirical example. 
    LikeReplyReport 52 years ago
  • Brigitte Koren
    Brigitte Koren
    Ashley went to the pool...
    The bus dropped Tracy and me near the park.
    LikeReplyReport 23 years ago
  • Rauf Khan
    Rauf Khan
    What about "let me b helped" and "let I be helped"?
    LikeReplyReport 13 years ago
    • Max Klein
      Max Klein
      Nope.... let is imperative mode and does therefore not require a subject. "me" in that example is the obligatory direct object of the transitive verb "let". By the way.... the "s" in "let's go" is also the direct object of "let". It's short for "us". All objects take object-case. 
      LikeReplyReport 12 years ago
    • Max Klein
      Max Klein
      P.S. "be helped" is the "object complement" which consits of a "bare infinitive clause" in passive voice. The word "me" hoever - or "I" in your less-than-correct example cannot be the subject of that clause because a subject would require the verb to be finite. (I am helped.) 
      LikeReplyReport 12 years ago
  • Andrew Rausch
    Andrew Rausch
    Considering this is grammar.com, I think this sentence needs a few commas and/or some revision for clarity:
    "If you’re still not sure when to use me and you and you and me or and me or and I, here is a good trick that will help you remember."
    :) 
    LikeReplyReport 43 years ago
    • Angbeen Chaudhary
      Angbeen Chaudhary
      Thank you for pointing it out, correction has been made.
      Cheers!
      LikeReplyReport 23 years ago

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