I vs. Me

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OK, I’m not about to get into a fight with myself; it’s just that I hear people misusing “I” so often (even teachers!) that it drives me crazy.

It’s simple: use “I” as the subject of the sentence: I took the money.

Use “me” as the object of the sentence: My father gave me away at my wedding.

See the difference: the subject is the person doing the action in the sentence. The object is the thing (person) having the action being done to it. “Me” can also be an indirect object: He gave the money to me.

Here’s were some people go wrong. They never use “me” in a compound. So whether subject or object, they use “I”. So it is correct to say “John and I went to Washington.” But it is completely wrong to say “Santa Claus gave lumps of coal to John and I.” Other people avoid me by saying “Santa Claus gave lumps to John and myself.”

“Myself” is used for reflexive actions and for emphasis. Reflexive means the subject is “I” and the object would be “me”. (ie: you do something to yourself.) “I gave ice cream to myself.” “I gave ice cream to Johnny, Larry and myself.” You may also use “myself” for emphasis that you were the active one in the sentence: “I went myself to get the money from the bank.”

With any compound subject or object, imagine if the other people were not present and then it should be obvious whether or not to use I, me or myself.

“I went to the store” is perfectly obvious, but people get confused with “Johnny, Larry and I went to the store” and then they say “Johnny, Larry and myself went to the store” but they would never say “Myself went to the store.” When in doubt with a compound subject or object, try it out as a singular and you will easily see when to use “I” and when to use “me.”

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