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Blogging Grammar: I or Me?

Blogging GrammarI’m no grammarian. My posts can be picked apart as easily as any. And some rules are so technical that they interfere with the flow of ideas (like never starting a sentence with a conjunction). Still there are some basic rules that anyone putting their words out into the blogosphere should know and follow.

In this new series β€” prompted by what I see and what really annoys me β€” I will try to make these basic grammar rules easy to understand and follow.

Today’s lesson: when to use “I” and when to use “me.”

This pronoun is only problematic when combined with a reference to another person. No one ever writes, “The cake is for I.” But countless people will write, “The cake is for Benny and I.”

Today I read a blog that said:

It has been a topic of discussion with [Bob] and I for some time.

Augh!

I doubt the blogger would have said, “It has been a topic of discussion with I for some time.” But when she adds in her husband’s name, magically the “me” she would have readily used, changes form!

When I was in third grade, my mom taught me the easy way to tell whether to use “me” or “I.” Take out the other person’s name and say the sentence. Nine times out of ten, the correct choice will be obvious.

I am going to the store.

Bob and I are going to the store.

[Not, “Bob and me are going to the store.” You wouldn’t say, “Me is going to the store.”]

Jill got concert tickets for me.

Jill got concert tickets for Bob and me.

[Not, “Jill got concert tickets for Bob and I.” You wouldn’t say, “Jill got concert tickets for I.”]

The same test works for using other pronouns.

She is going to the store.

I am going to the store.

She and I are going to the store.

[Not, “Her and I are going to the store.” You wouldn’t say, “Her is going to the store.”]

Jill got concert tickets for her.

Jill got concert tickets for me.

Jill got concert tickets for her and me.

[Not, “Jill got concert tickets for she and I.” You wouldn’t say, “Jill got concert tickets for she.”]

Another little tip for dual subjects: put the pronoun referring to you last. It’s more polite.

Do you have a trick for remembering whether to use “I” or “me”? Share it!

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Shelly Greenhalgh-Davis January 19, 2011, 12:10 am

    Great post. I have an acquaintance whose blog posts are full of misspellings, typos, words left out, etc., and it drives me crazy, especially since she is an author, an English teacher, and a state Teacher of the Year, and I know that she knows better. She just doesn’t take the time to proofread it first. It screams “UNPROFESSIONAL” to me. So thanks for bringing this up!

  • Jill January 19, 2011, 12:27 am

    Good info. I will try to remember and apply it.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 19, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Shelly.

    You are so right. All of us should carefully proofread. I know I don’t do it enough. Often, by the time I get done writing a post, I’m so bored of it I can’t stand to read through it, yet again. Just last week I commented on someone else’s blog and typed “your” instead of “you’re.” As soon as I clicked the submit button I saw it. Ack! And for some reason about a third of the time I intend to type “no” I end up with “not.” Of course, spell check doesn’t catch that.

    I’m far from perfect β€” and some rules I have literally given up trying to figure out. (Maybe I’ll blog about that later!) But there are some things that really make me nutty and the I vs me thing is one of them. πŸ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith January 19, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Jill, thanks for stopping by!

  • Gretchen January 20, 2011, 1:28 am

    LOVE IT! This bothers me to no end when I am reading blogs, FB posts, emails, and so on! I’ve used the same “test” since I was in 3rd grade.

    And it really bugs me when people start their sentences with “and.” *snort* I do it when I’m tr…ying to sound harried. I feel it is appropriate when used contextually. πŸ˜€

  • Alison Moore Smith January 20, 2011, 1:52 am

    Gretchen, thanks for pulling on over from Facebook. πŸ™‚ The comments here don’t get lost down in the feed. πŸ™‚

    I’m glad you’ve given some kind of exception for starting sentences with “and.” I know it’s incorrect. And I still do it all the time. πŸ˜‰

  • Val January 20, 2011, 4:38 pm

    Isn’t it surprising the amount of people who misuse I and me? A good tip, which you’ve talked on- is that when taking out the “Name and” part, the sentence should still make sense. I remember the exact day when my English teacher taught ME it. πŸ™‚ It goes into the category with the misuse of “Your” and “You’re”- talk about a teeth-grinder!

  • Alison Moore Smith January 20, 2011, 4:51 pm

    Spot on, Val. My next grammar blog will be about just that issue. πŸ™‚ Thanks for dropping by!

  • Jonathan Johnson January 22, 2011, 9:23 am

    My pet peeve: The substitution of the reflexive “myself” for either “me” or “I” (e.g., Bill gave a gift to Sue and myself). It is lazy and incorrect . . . and I hear it all the time. While Bill is always welcome to give a gift to me and may want to give a gift to either Sue or to himself, because he is not me, he can never give a gift to myself. Only I can do that.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 22, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Well said! Amen, Jonathan. I decided to save that for a post all it’s own. It just grates on my ears.

    The funny thing is that it’s harder to say “myself” than just “me.” (Assuming that extra syllables are a strain.) It seems to be an over-complication of the issue.

    Thanks for your insight. Spot on.

  • Delena Silverfox January 25, 2011, 8:45 pm

    Oh, I completely empathize! By the time I graduated high school I was known as “The Grammar Queen.” In elementary school, when friends passed me notes in class, I would correct them with pen! Nothing screams “Nerd” like being that nitpicky, but it’s just so annoying!

    I remember when my own mother taught me the secret of good grammar between “I” and “me.” Mothers are all the same in some regards, aren’t they?

    Delena
    Read Delena Silverfox’s inCREDible post…iContact Coupon CodeMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith January 25, 2011, 10:48 pm

    Delena, you make me laugh. My mom just corrected the heck out of us. There was no way on earth we were leaving her house without proper grammar β€” not to mention knowing how to hold eating utensils. πŸ™‚

    Of course, I still put a space on either side of an m-dash. I just think it’s so much more aesthetically pleasing!

    Thanks for dropping by!

  • Jessy January 26, 2011, 4:08 am

    haha.. I admit that I used to be confused in using ‘me’ and ‘I’. And thanks to our English teachers who taught us when to use it. hmm.. The only trick I can remember that our teacher told us is to see whether the sentence sounds properly if you remove the additional noun.. Well, sometimes it works. hehe. Thanks for an interesting post Alison, πŸ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith January 26, 2011, 12:19 pm

    Yup, that’s the trick I use in the post as well.

    Thanks for dropping by Jessy!

  • JUANNA_MARIE February 3, 2011, 2:11 am

    What a blast! The “I” is usually use as a subject and “me” as an object. I guess people should not need any reference, just someone who has a basic knowledge of English Grammar is often good enough. Le me suggest that everytime you finish writing an article, read every sentence repeatedly and you will find out where’s and what’s the error.
    Read JUANNA_MARIE’s inCREDible post…10 yearsMy Profile

  • TC February 3, 2011, 2:16 am

    Hello Alison.. Thanks for sharing this helpful article. I will definitely bear in mind those tips that you shared because I sometimes get confused in using “I” and “me”. I had a good time reading this post and learned a lot from it. More power to you!

  • Brad Harmon February 12, 2011, 10:41 pm

    This one seems pretty easy to remember, Alison. The rule your mother taught you is the one I use today. Occasionally, my brain will freeze and I will have to pull out her handy tip.

    Those who get confused may be able to blame it on Shakespeare, methinks. Isn’t it interesting how literature and language changes over time? I wonder when “methinks” fell out of style and “I think” took its place? Alas, I guess there’s no sense blaming poor Willy for someone’s bad grammar today.

    Thanks for the grammar lesson.
    Read Brad Harmon’s inCREDible post…When People Don’t Respond to Your BlogMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith February 13, 2011, 12:11 am

    LOL Well, maybe he is to blame. This is one that just grates on my ears when I hear it. Using “I” when “me” is correct, sound so affected to me.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 15, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Thanks for dropping by, TC. Glad it was helpful.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 15, 2011, 1:30 pm

    Juanna Marie, good tip. Yes, it’s as easy as analyzing the part of speech. Unfortunately, many native English speakers can’t identify the object or subject of a sentence. They go mostly on “sound.” So I’m trying to help them identify when things “sound” wrong. I think the I vs me dilemma is easy to identify by sound if you just remove the non-pronoun.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • Johnson May 13, 2011, 9:14 am

    Thanks for sharing, actually I’m still a little confused, β€œI” or β€œme”?
    Read Johnson’s inCREDible post…Longevity Project Dispels Aging MythsMy Profile

  • Kyle June 23, 2011, 11:26 am

    Very good article about simple grammar mistakes. I have seen way too many blogs that constantly confuse the words, “their” with “there” or “they’re”, in the wrong context.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 25, 2011, 1:00 pm

    Thanks, Kyle. You can point the offenders to the there, their, they’re post. πŸ™‚

  • Tim Ryan September 25, 2011, 9:24 pm

    Taking the name of the other person out is a great tip. Now my Grammar teacher didn’t teach me that technique. A lot of them tend to be so technical that many students get confused. I’ll teach this to my kids. I’m sure they’ll find this very useful. Thanks, Alison!

  • Ana October 18, 2011, 1:45 pm

    Oh, yes…the English Language and The Cases! To be honest, native English speakers made this particular thing a bit hard for me. We have cases in my language, so the difference between the nominative ‘I’ and the accusative “me” wasn’t a problem for me. However, so may native English speakers make this kind of mistake that I started to believe that I was doing it wrong!
    Read Ana’s inCREDible post…DΓ­as FΓ©rtiles De La Mujer Para Quedar EmbarazadaMy Profile

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