27 October 2013

Weekly grammar lesson

Lesson 8: "I" vs. "me"

Too often have I
seen people say things like:
"Shelly and me are going to the store."
Or
"Those suitcases belong to Jack and I."

It is about time someone teaches the world when to use "I" and when to use "me."

This concept really is not that complicated. Basically, when you are referring to yourself and another person (as seen in the examples above), you can easily determine which word to use by taking out the other person's name. Let's look at the previous examples using this method to see why they're wrong.

"Shelly and me are going to the store."
If you take out Shelly (and change the verb to fit appropriately), the sentence reads:
"Me is going to the store."
Most everyone should know this is wrong just by hearing it. We all know that it should say "I am going to the store." So, we now know that, with Shelly, the sentence will read:
"Shelly and I are going to the store."

Looking at the other example sentence, let's see how it sounds when we take out Jack.
"Those suitcases belong to I."
Again, it should be apparent that that does not sound right. What we would say is:
"Those suitcases belong to me."
So, if we bring Jack back into the picture, the sentence will read:
"Those suitcases belong to Jack and me."

For a more technical explanation, keep reading. If you think the aforementioned method works for you, test out your skills on the Quiz! now.

"I" is a subjective pronoun, while "me" is an objective pronoun. In simpler terms, "I" is the subject of a sentence, and "me" is an object in a sentence.

Using the same examples as before, we can illustrate this more clearly.
"Shelly and me are going to the store."
Since "me" is an objective pronoun, we know it is not being used properly in this sentence.
"Shelly and I are going to the store."
Ah, that's better. "Shelly" and "I" are both subjects of this sentence since they are the ones doing the action: going to the store.

"Those suitcases belong to Jack and I."
What is the subject in this sentence? Are the people doing the action, or are the suitcases doing the action? The correct answer is: the suitcases. The suitcases are doing the belonging. They belong TO the people; therefore, the people are (or should be) objects.
"Those suitcases belong to Jack and me."

Quiz!:
1. Do you want to go to the store with Bobby and ____?
2. Fred and ____ love to go dancing.
3. The clerks love Stan and ____.
4. When Robin and ____ go swimming, our hair gets wet.
5. You and ____ are now super smart.

Quiz! Answers: 1. Me 2. I 3. Me 4. I 5. I

2 comments:

  1. I love this lesson. Very well done. Now, here's one that I struggle with. My very proper Grandma Jones (your great-grandma) taught me to say this: "He is taller than I." She said you don't say, "He is taller than me." That's incorrect. To check, she said add the verb. "He is taller than I am." "Melissa is younger than I am." Almost everyone uses "me" in these situations. What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. Grandma Jones is correct. I usually just say the full sentence ("He is taller than I am") for clarity, but I'll admit that even I sometimes say "me" while speaking.

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