Is It "I" or "Me"? Use the Switcheroo Technique to Get It Right

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I'm a stickler for proper grammar. Lately, the widespread misuse/overuse of "I" has come to my attention, so I thought I'd take today's blog to clear up confusion and provide a little trick for remembering the correct usage.

 

Many people tend to use the pronoun "I" for everything, even when "me" is correct. For example, I often hear people say things such as:

 

  • This is an opportunity for John and I to spend some time together. (Incorrect)
  • Having Chris and I work together on this project was a smart idea. (Incorrect)

 

On the surface, they may sound correct, but let's look at those offending sentences again and try out the switcheroo technique, where we simply switch the order of the objects:

 

  • This is an opportunity for I and John to spend some time together.
  • Having I and Chris work together on this project was a smart idea.

 

Those definitely don't sound right now. That lets you know that you should replace your "I" with a "me." The following sentences are CORRECT:

 

  • This is an opportunity for John and me to spend some time together.
  • Having Chris and me work together on this project was a smart idea.

 

Even if you're convinced you will never fully understand parts of speech, you probably wouldn't say "This gift is from I and Steve," so why would you say "This gift is from Steve and I"? If you use the switcheroo technique, I bet you will say "This gift is from Steve and me," or "This gift is from me and Steve." And you will be correct!

-Maria

Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2014 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Comment by Mariana Dietl on February 21, 2014 at 7:33am

Very helpful, thanks Maria!

Comment by Kathryn Meyer Griffith on February 20, 2014 at 5:13pm

Thanks Maria.

Comment by Karoline Barrett on February 20, 2014 at 3:44pm

Oh my, Maria! I love grammar (I know -very weird), and I love it FAR better than math, but I really try not to be too critical since I know I'm not perfect, but really, sometimes you just want to scratch your head!  :)  I know, that's a run on sentence....  :)

Comment by Maria Murnane on February 20, 2014 at 3:36pm

@Karoline I feel your pain! Yesterday on the Today show Jenna Bush (i.e. the former president's daughter) was reporting from Sochi about an American gold medalist. I kid you not, she said "I saw HE and his wife." I almost died. How can anyone think that is correct?

Comment by Karoline Barrett on February 20, 2014 at 3:21pm

This one is a piece of cake as far as grammar is concerned. I used to work with a woman who always said, "I seen it." That was like nails on a blackboard!

Comment by Maria Murnane on February 20, 2014 at 2:14pm
Comment by Kathryn Meyer Griffith on February 20, 2014 at 1:55pm

I looked at all your other blogs here and couldn't find it. oh, well. Now back to my writing.

Comment by Maria Murnane on February 20, 2014 at 1:43pm

Hi Kathryn! I've blogged about those topics before. :)

Comment by Kathryn Meyer Griffith on February 20, 2014 at 1:12pm

Maria,

Thank you...such an easy way to remember the correct usage.  Would you also have a quick way like that to explain   "that/which and lay/lie" ? I would really appreciate that, too.

Comment by Bonnie Council on February 20, 2014 at 1:03pm

Great solution for an annoying issue. Now if you could only help the pronoun-challenged among us who fail to realize that there is never, ever, a good reason to begin a sentence or phrase with the word "me." As in, "Me and Janis had a wonderful visit." Ouch - it's like nails on a chalkboard every time I hear it, and yet, it's so very common.

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