Tag Archives: I vs. Me

Where Are the Editors?


This morning I read an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by a man extolling the advantages of couples sleeping in separate bedrooms. Given the situation in his household, he made a convincing personal argument. He ends the essay by writing that the two-bedroom solution might not work for everyone, “but for my wife and I,” it is working well.

OK, so he didn’t know that when deciding between I and me, if you temporarily remove the other person, you’ll immediately know which pronoun to use. He never would have written, “for I, it’s a good solution.” Adding his wife back in changes nothing. It still should be “for my wife and me.”

The author made the error—but where was the editor of the op-ed page of the LA Times? I can come to only two conclusions: either no editor exists for op-ed pieces, or there is an editor but that person also is ignorant about which pronoun to use. Either situation saddens me. You, too?


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“Myself” Is Almost Always Wrong

Somehow, I seem to know a few people who are lovers of  “myself.”  No, they are not in love with me.  They love the word–and unfortunately use it gratingly and incorrectly:

1. “Brenda and myself visited my cousin in Tucson.”

2. “John invited Brenda and myself for dinner this Saturday.”

Please, no!  Stop it, or I will be bald by Memorial Day!

“Myself” is NOT some elegant variation of “I” or “me.”  It never takes the place of either of those words. The  time to use “myself” is for emphasis at the end of a sentence when you have already mentioned yourself:

“I drove to Tucson myself.”  See that”I”?  That makes “myself” kosher.  I mentioned myself and then used “myself” at the end to emphasize the fact that no one else did any of the driving. I did it all myself.

In sentences 1 and 2, just leave out the other person temporarily and you will instantly know whether you need “I” or “me.”  You’d never say or write, “Myself visited my cousin in Tucson.” You know you would use “I.” Adding Brenda back into the sentence changes nothing.  It is “Brenda and I visited….”

In the second sentence, you’d never say or write, “John invited myself for dinner.”  You know the right word is “me.” Adding Brenda back to the sentence changes nothing: “John invited Brenda and me for dinner this Saturday.”

Have I made myself clear?

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Which Husband Should I Keep?

Which of the two following sentences is grammatically correct?

1. My husband loves football more than I.

2. My husband loves football more than me.

The correct answer is both of them; they just say different things:

Sentence #1 says my husband loves football more than I do.

Sentence #2 says he loves football more than he loves me.

Filling in missing words will help you decide which pronoun you need.  Meanwhile, I’m keeping husband #1.

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Who or Whom?

In the same way “I” and “me” are equivalent pronouns, depending on which one is needed (see post a few below), “who” and “whom” are also equivalently weighted, although people throw in “whom” when it’s not needed because they think it is more elegant or classy.  It isn’t.

As “I” is a subject pronoun, so is “who.”  “Me” is an object pronoun, as is “whom.”  How do you know which one to use?  It’s easy:

The winning run was hit by a player (who/whom) I used to know in college.

Here’s what you do:

1. Cover up the whole sentence up to and including the “who/whom.”

2. Read what is left:  I used to know in college.

3. You’ll see a word is missing:  I used to know HIM in college.

4. If the missing word is a subject pronoun (in this case, it would have been HE), you want the subject pronoun WHO.  But in this sentence you need HIM, an object pronoun, so you use the object pronoun WHOM.

5.  That’s  the trick.

For your convenience, here are lists of the subject and object pronouns:

SUBJECT PRONOUNS: I, she, he, we, they, who

OBJECT PRONOUNS: me, her, him, us, them, whom

“It” and “you” can be either subject or object pronouns, so don’t use them in your test.  And often, as in the sample sentence above, you can eliminate WHO or WHOM.  But when you do need one of those pronouns, follow these steps and you’ll always be right.

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I or Me?

A while ago I wrote about “myself” and how it is not a substitute for “I” or “me.” Use “myself” at the end of a sentence for emphasis, only when you’ve already mentioned yourself.  For example, “I painted the living room myself.”  You could put a period after “living room,” but the last word emphasizes that no one helped you.

Whether to use “I” or “me” is so easy:

Use “I” when it’s a subject.  “Sarah and I went to the movies last Sunday.”  Just temporarily take the other person out and you’ll always know whether you need “I” or “me.”  You’d never say “Sarah and me (or Me and Sarah!) went to the movies.”  Please, tell me you wouldn’t.

Use “me” when you need an object.  “The package arrived for Sarah and me.”  Take Sarah out and you wouldn’t write, “The package arrived for I.”  Putting Sarah back into the equation changes nothing.

For some reason, people think “I” is a classier or better pronoun that “me.”  It isn’t.  They are equal.  It just depends on whether you need a subject or an object.  Take out the other person temporarily, and you’ll always get this right.


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