Me vs. I - Which One When?
He and I ... her and me ... How about a simple grammatical rule for when to say "I" or "me"?
I vs. Me - What Not to Do
Is there a simple grammatical rule?
YES. There is a simple grammatical rule to follow. But most people follow the wrong rule.
Many people mistakenly think that the simple rule is to always use "me" when linked with another person. In other words, if you are referring to yourself and Bill, then it should be "Bill and me" no matter where it appears in the sentence.
This is incorrect.
I vs. Me - The Actual Grammatical Rule
Don't panic, it's really quite simple.
The grammatical rule is: drop the other person's name and see whether you would use "I" or "me" if the other person were not named. Then use that word to refer to yourself, even when the other person is added back in to the sentence.
So if you are referring to yourself and Bill and trying to decide whether to say "Bill and I" or "Bill and me," drop Bill out of the sentence first, then add him back.
"Bill and ___ will go to the store."
Drop Bill and it is clear that "I will go to the store." Add Bill back in and you know that "Bill and I will go to the store."
"He wrote a letter to Bill and ___."
Drop Bill and you easily see that "He wrote a letter to me." Add Bill back in and "He wrote a letter to Bill and me."
Why the Confusion?
Overgeneralization is the culprit in this common grammatical mistake.
Teachers try to correct kids' grammar, but too often without explaining this simple rule. Since young children can't figure out the grammatical particulars, they take one or the other (Bill and I, or Bill and me) and overgeneralize the rule - that is, they apply to all situations whether it is correct or not.
Frequently the heaviest weight of correcting is to stop kids from saying, "Me an' Bill are gonna go play!" So kids hear a parent or teacher correct them, saying "It's not me and Bill, it's Bill and I are going to play." So, most of the time, the overgeneralization "Bill and I" shows up where it shouldn't, in the predicate.
|Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation|
Drop the other person.
It quickly becomes clear which pronoun to use
when you are the only person in the sentence.
Did She Really Just Say "Predicate?"
Yes. Yes, I did.
Don't get spooked! Subject and predicate are perfectly simple (and easier to understand than you remember from grammar lessons). The subject of the sentence is the one being talked about, the one doing the action; so in our case, Bill and you. The predicate is the rest of the sentence: the verb (the action word) together with whatever happens because of the action.
When you are speaking subjectively, or doing the action, the pronoun to use is "I."
I did this. I ate that.
You know this rule already, and you never break it except when another person enters the sentence.
But when the action is happening to you, you naturally use "me."
Give it to me. You tell me.
You also know this rule already, and confuse it only when another person enters the sentence.
It's only when overgeneralization steps in that we confuse the two. So just drop the second person in your sentence, and without even having to think about it, you will know which one is correct.
Grammar Pop Quiz 1
Grammar Pop Quiz 2
Grammar Pop Quiz 3
Than Me vs. Than I
This looks like a tricky construction, but it's not.
Bill walks faster than me? Or Bill walks faster than I?
The correct answer is Bill walks faster than I. Yes, I know: it sounds wrong. And when you first look at this sentence, "Bill" is the clear subject, which means "I" must be in the predicate ... right?
Wrong. "Bill walks faster" is a complete sentence that actually takes no action on the "than I."
"Than" in this case is a connector, and it is connecting one complete sentence with another implied complete sentence. Fill in the implied rest of the sentence: Bill walks faster than I walk. The "than" is making a comparison between two subjects and two predicates.
This is also true for "as I." Bill enjoys walking on the beach as much as I (enjoy walking on the beach).
You use implied words in sentences already, probably mostly in imperative commands: Go over there! looks as if it doesn't have a subject. WHO should go over there? But of course the implied subject is "you," whichever person you are addressing.
If you want to write and speak with grammatical correctness but don't want to sound too snooty, just complete the sentence with the second verb after "than" and no one will accuse you of being too high-falutin' for using "I" as properly in this construction as I ... do.
For More Grammar Fun Check Here!
(Um, did she really just say "grammar" and "fun" in the same sentence?)
I think the title of this "blog" is fairly "self-explanatory."
This is not actually a whole blog about grammar, but this post about the mythical Alot beast is one of the most hysterical things I've ever read.
"Taking it to the streets and correcting America, one comma at a time."