First-Person Problems

When I decided to develop a blog focused on writing, I realized I was going to need a proofreader. (When you think, talk, and type as quickly as I do, things can go awry just as quickly.) So I asked Alexis—one of my best friends since 10th grade—to scour my posts for any potentially embarrassing mistakes. Even though she’s insanely busy, she agreed; she even said she was “honored” to review them.

After reviewing my first two posts, she headed off for a girls’ scrapbooking weekend. Somehow, the topic of my blog was raised. (One woman’s comment to Alexis: “Wow. There’s someone nerdier about grammar than you.”*) Shortly thereafter, one of her other friends mentioned that she needed “to pick up something for Jason and I.”

Now, I mentioned two blogs ago that I rarely correct my friends’ grammar. Alexis has no such qualms, especially given the fact they’d already been discussing grammar. “No,” she said. “You need to pick up something for ‘Jason and me.’” It was lighthearted, and everyone laughed. But a few minutes later, her friend continued, “I don’t know if that day will work for Jason and I.” Ouch. 0 for 2.

This is a common problem. “I” vs. “me” is tricky for many of us because “I” and “me” are both first-person pronouns. “I” is the subjective pronoun (meaning it’s used as the subject of a sentence), and “me” is the objective pronoun (meaning it’s used as the object).

So which is correct?

  • I went to the store.
  • Me went to the store.

Unless you’re Cookie Monster, you’re going to want to go with sentence #1 where “I” is the subject of the sentence.

How about:

  • The dog followed me to the kitchen.
  • The dog followed I to the kitchen.

#1, right? Because “dog” is the subject of the sentence, and “me” is the object of the sentence.

However, it gets trickier when you introduce a second subject or object—especially a second object. Consider this pair of sentences:

  • The dog followed Steve and me to the kitchen.
  • The dog followed Steve and I to the kitchen.

I’m betting that most people would go with “I” because it “sounds right.” But the answer is “me.” Again, “Steve” and “me” both serve as objects of the sentence, and the subject is “dog.” An easy way to tell for sure is to eliminate the additional object and the conjunction “and” from the sentence, which brings you back to “The dog followed me to the kitchen.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, me off to eat delicious cookie.

Favorite Word of the Week: Buoy

Favorite song of the week: “You and Me” by You + Me

*Just for the record, we’re about the same level of nerdy. In fact, we own matching “I’m Silently Correcting Your Grammar” t-shirts.

Comments

  1. Alexandra says

    This might be my biggest grammar pet peeve.

    Me: Hey, where’s Kelly? I thought I saw her car in the driveway.
    Friend: Oh, her and Dave ran to the store. They’ll be back soon.

    “Her and Dave.” Nooooooooo.

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