I vs. Me

Posted: March 13th, 2014, 9:38 am   By: brittany.corners

“When people hang out with me, they generally know what to expect. I mean, I’ll tell you straight out that I’m not the easiest guy to hang out with.”—(af)frontman GG Allin, famous for frowned-upon behaviors like fighting members of his paying audience.

This week we learn the easy way to decide between using the first-person pronoun I or me.

Most of us understand the primary function of pronouns: standing in for nouns. As modern Americans, we’re already pretty familiar with stand-ins. For years, we’ve watched Kim Kardashian substitute quite serviceably for Paris Hilton. In the 1990s, we pretended not to notice as Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke toggled back and forth as Becky. Even after sixty years, we still applaud Dr. Harlow’s classic wire-mesh-mommy switcheroo.

However, many writers often have trouble deciding when to use first-person pronouns “I” or “me.” This problem occurs frequently when constructing comparisons using “than” or “as,” or when discussing more than one subject or object at a time. Luckily, we have a simply question to determine which pronoun to use: Is the pronoun acting as a subject or object?

Subject = I

Use “I” when the pronoun serves as the subject of your sentence of clause. Stick with “I” even if you have more than one subject.

  • Ex) After this year’s crisis of conscience, Julie and I decided to fight worker exploitation by shopping at Wal-Mart instead of Kmart.
  • Ex) This stoic canine has more patience than I. *Note: This may seem tricky, but we use “I” because the pronoun is not acting like an object.

Object = Me

As such, use “me” when the pronoun functions as an object. Let’s see what happens when we change things around in our examples to use pronouns as objects:

  • Ex) The indentured factory worker smuggled a desperate plea to Julie and me.
  • Ex) The dog’s monumental concentration surprised his owner even more than me.

Simple, right?