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  • Grammergency #3: Don’t Be Afraid of Little Ol’ “Me”
Grammergency #3: Don’t Be Afraid of Little Ol’ “Me”
Contributor
Written by
Annie Tucker
January 2015
Contributor
Written by
Annie Tucker
January 2015

Did you ever have a middle-school teacher who barked at you every time you announced, “Me and Katie are partners” instead of saying “Katie and I”? Did your mother drive you crazy by correcting you whenever you said, “It’s me,” rather than the more formal “It’s I”? Have you become so afraid of using “me” that you now avoid it at all costs?

If so, you’re not alone. Somewhere along the way, little ol’ “me” has gotten a really bad rap. Almost every day in conversation, I hear people go to such great lengths to find a workaround for this pronoun that they end up making unforced grammatical errors as a result.

For example, the phrase “that’s between her and I” has become commonplace because it seems to sound “fancier” than the humbler “that’s between her and me,” even though the latter version is the correct one. Similarly, someone describing a dinner party now seems as apt to say, “The food was served to him and myself at the same time” as to choose the accurate wording: “The food was served to him and me.” Even more rampant are statements like “She went to the store with my brother and I”—which should be “with my brother and me.”

How can you tell when to use “me,” not “I”? By simply removing the other pronoun(s) from the sentence and repeating the shortened version back to yourself. In the first half of each pair of examples above, you’d end up with “that’s between I,” “The food was served to myself,” and “She went to the store with I.” All of these sound pretty odd, don’t they? That’s because each one ends with the subject pronoun “I” or the reflexive pronoun “myself,” when they’re just crying out for the object pronoun “me.” So the next time you’re pondering which option to select, try out this trick.

After all, sometimes it really is all about “me.”

Have a grammar question? Leave it in the comments below.

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Comments
  • Frances A. Rove Writing

    I had great grammar teachers in school and developed a pretty good "ear for grammar."  Everyone hears so many erroneous uses of "I" and other words now on television and elsewhere.  The wrong usage becomes so common it can sound RIGHT!  Thank you for the refresher course. 

  • Kathryn Meyer Griffith

    This helped me also. Grin. Thanks for the short cut to tell which one is right.

  • Barbara Ehrentreu

    Annie, this particular "grammergency" drives me nuts. I especially hear it on TV on reality shows when they say him and I or similar statements. I cringe every time I hear it. Your way to figure out which pronoun to use is so simple I don't know why people don't use it. Maybe we need a campaign for "little ole me". I am going to share this with my writing friends. Thank you for addressing this maddening "grammergency".