Using Me and I Pronouns Correctly

Kyle Palazzi
Contributing Writer
@KylePalazzi

Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.

I have a confession to make: I am a bit of a grammar Nazi, though I’m a much nicer one than you will probably encounter at anytime online or in your day-to-day interactions. I won’t publicly shame you if you goof up there, their, and they’re or if you use then and than interchangeably; I’ll keep my judgment to myself.

But one of the most common mistakes that I see in the ASC, especially when there is an influx of personal narratives being assigned by professors, is the misuse of me and I pronouns. Of all of the grammar mistakes one can make, correctly using me and I pronouns is easily fixable if you know the rules.

The simplest way to figure out which pronoun to use when referring to yourself is to look at whatever statement you’re making as if you are the only one involved. For example, take the following question:

Would you like to go to the movies with my friends and I?

This is typically the way a question would be phrased in colloquial (or everyday) speech. Everyone whom you pose this question to knows what you mean, but it is, in fact, grammatically incorrect. Try taking my friends out of the equation, and you’ll see what I mean:

Would you like to go to the movies with I?

 Only super villains and medieval knights refer to themselves as “I” in instances like these. So, in order to make this statement grammatically correct, you would have to say:

Would you like to go to the movies with my friends and me?

I know it sounds wrong, and it might take some getting used to when you start using the correct pronoun, but your professors will appreciate it.

Usually, people correctly use the I pronoun at the beginning of a sentence, but occasionally you’ll hear someone say something like this:

Me and my friends went to the movies last night.

Again, in everyday speech, anyone who hears you say this knows what you’re getting at. But again, remove my friends from the statement to truly see how ridiculous it sounds:

Me went to the movies last night.

I’m willing to bet that no one here at SC started any of their sentences like this in their essay when applying to the school, so don’t do it, even when you’re speaking with friends. The correct way to write this statement would be:

My friends and I went to the movies.

There’s your crash course on how to figure out whether to use me or I in a given statement or question. You can be confident that you’re sparing yourself from the ridicule of Internet grammar trolls everywhere, and as an added bonus, you’ll sound super smart, too. Your professors will appreciate it.

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