Many people mistakenly use the personal pronoun “I” to sound smarter or more proper, when “me” is actually the correct choice. The former is a subject pronoun, whereas the latter is an object pronoun. That means we use them in different ways. Follow the rules from this grammar lesson to use them correctly:
- After any form of “to be”: Let’s say you knock on your co-worker’s door and you hear him say, “Who is it?” It can be tempting to say “It’s me,” but that would be incorrect. The subject pronoun “I” always comes after forms of the verb “to be,” such as “is” and “was.” In this case, “It’s I” is the grammatically correct response. Editor’s note: If you feel like that sounds stilted, you could always say “It’s [your name]” instead. Your co-worker will probably appreciate your specificity anyway!
- After prepositions: Object pronouns always follow prepositions; subject pronouns never do. (Reminder: “I” is a subject pronoun and “me” is an object pronoun.) For example, the sentence “Bring the statements to Sally and I in the morning” is incorrect—even though a lot of people think it sounds proper. Instead, say “Bring the statements to Sally and me in the morning.”
Check yourself: Sentences with compound subjects tend to confuse people. In a sentence like “Laura served John and me some coffee,” it might be necessary to double check your grammar. Simply narrow the sentence down: “Laura served me.” Now you know you’ve chosen the correct pronoun.
When saying or writing comparisons, you might also need to check yourself. If you say, “She reads more than me” but aren’t sure if that’s correct, write out the full comparison: “She reads more than I read.” This will clue you in to the correct pronoun: “I.”
What other grammar lessons would you or your co-workers like to see on the blog?