“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?
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.
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: