Me versus I

This one simple grammatical rule is not being taught in schools but it needs to be because “me” is not a dirty word!

Let me begin with a poem.

When do we use the word I

And when do we use the word me?

When do we use the word us

And when do we use the word we?

Let me tell thee!

For some reason, younger kids say things like “me and Georgina were playing outside but then it started raining”. Their teachers and parents correct them and say “you’re supposed to say ‘Georgina and I were playing outside…’”.

However, we never then follow up by telling them when they should use the word “me”.

The word “I” is used when the person being referred to is the subject of the sentence. The word “me” is used when the person is the object of the sentence.

So,

On the first day I went to the shop.

On the second day Georgina and I both went to the shop.

On the third day, we both went to the shop again.

Very few people get this wrong.

However…

On the first day, the shopkeeper told me about his new car.

No-one gets this wrong either; “me” is the obvious pronoun.  A lot of people get the next bit wrong, though.)

On the second day, the shopkeeper told … Georgina and me about his new boat.

Way too many people incorrectly say “the shopkeeper told Georgina and I about his new boat”. Why should the inclusion of Georgina change the pronoun from “me” to “I”? It shouldn’t. On the first day, the shopkeeper told me something and on the second day, the shopkeeper told Georgina and me something!

We get it wrong because our teachers told us (correctly) to say Georgina and I (did something), but leave out the equally important correct use of the word “me”, leaving us, from a young age with a fear of the word me.

By the way,

On the third day, the shopkeeper spoke to us again about his new boat.

I and we go together, while me and us go together.

So, if you would normally use the word I in a sentence but there is someone with you, say Georgina and I.

If you would normally use the word me in a sentence, but there is someone with you, say Georgina and me.

Georgina and I went to the shop for a spot of afternoon tea.

When we had finished, the owner approached and spoke with Georgina and me.

Now not only are people, including teachers (!), too afraid to say “Mrs Havisham has approached Mrs Copperfield and me to offer us a pay rise for our exceptional use of pronouns…”, but they don’t even use “me” when they are talking about themselves!

I’ve heard teachers say “If you have any questions, please come and talk to Mrs Liacos or myself and one of us will help you out”.

I can talk to myself and you can talk to yourself, but you can’t talk to myself and I can’t talk to yourself. I can talk to myself and to you, and you can talk to yourself and to me. And you certainly can’t talk to myself any more than you can talk to I! You can, however, talk to me (or to Georgina and me) if you want to.

So that’s all me have to say, oops, I have to say. Don’t be afraid of me. Feel free to use me. And feel free to use the Shedding Light programs which Georgina and I created. If you have any questions, please contact Georgina or me!

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