Monday, April 16, 2012

Common Error: "I" vs. "Me"

Welcome to Mistake Monday! This error is actually common among native English speakers, so it's probably a good one to look at. The question is, when should you say "I," and when should you say "me"? 

"I" is the subject; "me" is the object. (Image credit)

It seems like an easy answer: "I" is a subject pronoun and "me" is an object pronoun. But it gets a little more complicated when you are talking about more than one person. For example, we can say "Mark and I," but can we say "I and Mark"? What about "The audience was looking at Mark and I"? Here are some tips for both English learners and native speakers:

Common Error: "I" vs "me"
DON’T say this:"Me and Paul are brothers."
"That car belongs to Angela and I."
"Miguel and me are going to go to a movie."
"Her and I are in the same English class."
WHY?As we mentioned before, "I" is a pronoun used for a subject, and "me" is a pronoun used for an object. The same is true for the combinations of "he" and "him," "she" and "her," "we" and "us," and "they" and "them."

If you have more than one subject or object and don't know which word to use, try eliminating one of them.

For example, in the sentence above, "Miguel and me are going to go to a movie," eliminate Miguel. Does the sentence make sense? ("Me are/is going to a movie"... no, it doesn't make sense). If not, then you need to use a different pronoun.

In the other example, "That car belongs to Angela and I," eliminate Angela: "That car belongs to I"... hmm, this also doesn't make sense, so I should use "me" instead.

Note: when using "I" or "me," it's usually more common to put your name second or at the end of a list, if you're talking about more than two people.
INSTEAD, SAY THIS:-"Paul and I are brothers."
-"That car belongs to Angela and me."
-"Miguel and I are going to see a movie."
-"She and I are in the same English class."

So, that's it for now. If you have questions or comments, please leave a comment or contact me. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

2 comments:

  1. I use the subject before the verb and the object after the verb.

    Examples:

    Ryan and I have a car
    The car belongs to Ryan and me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Right!

    I think I may have "over-explained" it in this post. Like I mentioned, though, it's actually an error that native speakers commit, at least in speaking. The way that I was taught to deal with the situation was to eliminate the other subject or object to "test" it.

    Thanks for your comment, anonymous person!

    ReplyDelete

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-Ryan