In Praise of Me

Sara and I went to the beach.

Sara and I went to the beach.

In an effort to sound educated, many people use the word “I” indiscriminately, when sometimes, actually, “me” is correct! Even the President of the United States makes this mistake, and he has a whole team of “experts” writing his speeches for him. Maybe some of them need to return to grammar school?

“I” is used when it is the subject of the sentence. Often, the subject occurs at the beginning. “I went to the store.” The subject is “I” and the action is “went to the store”. Sometimes, the subject isn’t at the beginning, and this is what throws people.

Ex: While searching through my closet yesterday, I found the diary I kept as a child.

The subject of this sentence is still “I”. I was the one searching through the closet. Then there is a little part (dependent clause), “I kept as a child” – and “I” is still the subject of that clause.

When “I” is NOT the subject of the sentence, it is perfectly correct to use “me”.

Ex: Mother sewed me a new dress.

The subject here is “mother”. She did the action, which is “sew a new dress”. “Me” is the receiver of the action – therefore, you must use “me”. The real confusion seems to happen when there is someone else in the sentence with “me”. The rule here is, whatever you would use when “I” is in the sentence alone, is what you still use even when someone else is in the sentence, too.

Ex: I went to the beach. Sara went to the beach. Sara and I went to the beach.

(Note, that it is customary to put the other person first, rather than to say, “I and Sara went to the beach.” This stems from the age of manners, when we did not always think of ourselves first.)

Mom made Dad and me a cake.

Mom made Dad and me a cake.

Ex: Mother made a cake for me. Mother made a cake for Dad. Mother made a cake for Dad and me. (This is the one where most people fail!)

With this little reminder, you should never make this mistake again! You can be smarter than the speechwriters for the President.

Photo Credits:
Hanging at the Beach by P & K’s Mommy

Birthday Cake in the Garden by Romrodinka

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