From the time we are little, teachers tell us the word “me” is wrong. In actuality, this is not always the case; however, our elementary school educators are merely trying to break the habit of kids saying, “Me and Bobby are going to ride bikes.,” or “Me and Suzy ate lunch together.” While their mission is just, we now live in a society of over-correctors who are terrified to use the word “me,” at the risk of sounding stupid. I hear and read people misuse “I” constantly—lawyers, doctors, farmers, teachers, McDonald’s burger flippers—this problem is ubiquitous. So, bear with me as I try to clarify the I vs. Me issue.
When I is correct…
Rather than spewing out grammatical reasoning, I will simply provide examples. The trick is, take out the other person’s name to see if it’s correct.
“Gabe and I are eating dinner.” Sure, you wouldn’t say, “I are eating dinner,” but you would say, “I am eating dinner.” In no situation is “me” correct here.
“Caroline and I went to the store.” Take out Caroline. Simple enough, right?
I feel we all have a grasp on using “I.” My goal is to demonstrate instances when “I” is NOT correct, so here we go.
When Me is correct…
Again, I’ll use examples and if you decide to work on this aspect of your speaking and writing, just remember to always take out the other person’s name.
Imagine you’re posting a photo on Facebook of you and your hubby on vacation. Many people will write:
“The hubby and I.”
This. Is. Not. Correct!
If it were just you in the photo, you wouldn’t write, “I.” Don’t let that other person’s name throw you! Take it out. You’d simply write, “Me.” So, just add “The hubby and” to the word you’d use.
“The hubby and me.”
This goes for any sentence like this, though this mistake is more commonly made in writing than speaking.
“The hubby and ME eating lobster on the beach.”
HOWEVER, if you were speaking in the present and active, you’d say:
“The hubby and I are eating lobster on the beach.”
You wouldn’t write, “I eating lobster on the beach.” In this case, “me” is correct.
BUT, you wouldn’t write, “Me am eating lobster on the beach.” In this case, “I” is correct.
I know it seems confusing, but before you start typing, take out that other person’s name and go from there. It’s really quite easy.
This next example KILLS me. Imagine a phone conversation with a friend.
Friend: “Where are you?”
You: “Gabe and I’s house.” Sure, most people would say “our,” but MANY people say it this way. I also frequently see this in writing.
In no case, EVER, is “I’s” a word!
So, how would you say this correctly without taking the easy way out of using ”our?”
“Me and Gabe’s new house?” No. Our old teachers did have one thing right—“me” never goes in front of a second subject.
How would you say it if it were just you?
“My new house,” right?
But what about the “’s?” Can you say, “Gabe and my’s new house?”
Make the other subject possessive.
“Gabe’s and my new house.”
So, what did we learn?
-Take out the second subject to determine I vs. Me
-Never use or say I’s. This word does not exist, nor should it!
-Never say or write my’s. Again, not a word!
-Trust yourself. “Me” is not a bad word and many times, it’s the grammatically correct choice.