When To Use The Words I and Me
By Deborah Sexton
How we express ourselves is so important, it can make or break a person’s image. The words I hear so many people use incorrectly are “I“ and “Me” . It’s hard for many to know when it is appropriate to use them.
It is awkward for everyone when these words are used incorrectly. Amazingly, even people in high power positions have a problem choosing the correct word.
Today I heard a speaker during a meeting say “If you are having problems with it just ask Janine or I”
I was a little more than shocked. Before the speaker used the word “I” there was a slight hesitation. Rightfully so, she should have taken more time. Have you noticed that when we try to guess, we usually make the wrong choice?
The Correct Use Of The Words “I” and “Me”
It is a good idea to plan what you will say and write it down. That way your correct English can flow and it will appear to be second nature. It is very simple but can still be awkward in front of a crowd to stop and think about it. None-the-less, it is still better to hesitate than to blurt out the wrong word.
Let’s take the sentence above incorrectly expressed by the speaker
“If you are having problems with it just ask Janine or I” All the supervisor needed to do was remove the other person from the sentence and she would have instantly known to use the word “Me “ instead of “I“
“If you are having problems with it just ask I“ Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? !! Let’s try the word “me”
“If you are having problems with it just ask me“ After discovering the correct word, put the other person back in the sentence and speak it.
“If you are having problems with it just ask Janine or me“ How much better that sounds. Let’s clean it up even more. “If you have a problem with it just ask Janine or me“
To make sure you understand let’s write another sentence.
Me and Maggie went shopping today” How does that sound?
Let’s remove Maggie from the sentence and say it again. “Me went shopping today“
Since we know this is wrong, change it to correct English “I went shopping today“
Now that we know which word is correct let’s add Maggie’s name. The rule of thumb is to always say the name of the other person before our own. “Maggie and I went shopping today“
Though this may be a simple rule for many it can be very hard for others. I hear people making the wrong word choices everyday. They want to appear intelligent by using the word “I“ but just the opposite occurs.
I hope this has helped someone, as simple as it might be. I also hope I have used correct English.