Writing about yourself: how not to fall into the I-ME trap

One of the most common among classic writing (and speaking) grammar goofs is the I or ME dilemma, when I-ME does something with someone else.

Is it you and I or you and me?

Did Dad and I go out for brunch yesterday, or was it Dad and me?

Without resorting to formal grammar jargon, here is a simplified but very easy to grasp illustration of the problem and its solutions…and scroll down if you want an easy trick to make sure you stay out of the I-ME trap from now on…

Writing quiz: which of the following are correct?

1.Deanna, Mike, Tom and I went to the movies last night.

2.The movie tickets were a gift to Tom and I from our friend Jason.

3.After the movie, Deanna, Mike, Tom and I went out for dinner.

4.Me and Tom chose burgers, but Deanna and Mike had pizza.

5.Tom and I had to send our burgers back because they weren’t cooked properly.

6.We began to think a choice of pizza might have been better for Tom and I!

7.When the burgers came back from the kitchen though, Tom and I really enjoyed them.

8.Afterwards we decided to try the same restaurant for lunch – a treat out for Deanna and I!

9.We went home at about 11 o’clock; the boys were tired but Deanna and me wanted to go to a club.

10.Tom went to sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, but it was a TV movie for me…

OK – out of the 10 sentences, which are correct?

1, 3, 5, 7, 10. The others are wrong. Why?

To use just a soupçon of grammar-speak, you, dear reader, are I if you’re in the subject of a sentence, and ME if you’re in the object (which is part of the predicate, but let’s not go there now).

So here are the correct versions:

2.The movie tickets were a gift to Tom and me from our friend Jason. You and Tom are part of the object here.

4.Tom and I chose burgers, but Deanna and Mike had pizza. You’re part of the subject in the first bit (clause). And it’s seen as rather rude to put yourself first as in “me and Tom!”

6.We began to think a choice of pizza might have been better for Tom and me! The object again…

8.Afterwards we decided to try the same restaurant for lunch – a treat out for Deanna and me. Ditto.

9.We went home at about 11 o’clock; the boys were tired but Deanna and I wanted to go to a club. Despite being near the end of the sentence, you and Deanna are the subject.

And now for that good old writing trick ….

When in doubt, just take out the other person – and you’ll soon see which is correct. For example…

2.The movie tickets were a gift to (Tom and) I from our friend Jason ???

4.Me (and Tom) chose burgers, but Deanna and Mike had pizza ???

6.We began to think a choice of pizza might have been better for (Tom and) I ???

8.Afterwards we decided to try the same restaurant for lunch – a treat out for (Deanna and) I ???

9.We went home at about 11 o’clock; the boys were tired but (Deanna and) me wanted to go to a club ???

Simple, really. Well worth remembering…

What other tricks do you know that can help people get their grammar right?

Please share!

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