Grammar | "I" vs "Me" (Subjective VS Objective Pronoun)
Hi everyone! Welcome back to the blog! You and I are going to talk about the use of personal pronouns today. Wait, should it be “I and you” or “You and me”? Do you know the answer? Now, it is common for us to make such mistakes because the use of the conjunction “and” often throws us off and confuses us as to which pronoun should be used.
It is easy to make such mistakes in our writing and even during conversations. For students, you have to be aware of this because you may encounter this troubling situation in grammar cloze, editing, composition, well basically anywhere! So go ahead! Watch the video to learn more about it!
Test your understanding of “I” vs “me” by taking the FREE short quiz!
Hi everyone! I am Ms Cynthia and if you have not heard of me, that is because I have just joined the Lil’ But Mighty Village! Today, I will be guiding you through when you should use “I”, and when you should use “me” when there are other subjects and objects in the sentence.
1) Firstly, we need to understand the difference between “I” and “me”. “I” is a subjective pronoun. Basically, it is used as the subject of a sentence. For example, “I am holding a book.” The subjective pronouns tell us who is the doer in the sentence (who does the action)
2) Secondly, “me” is an objective pronoun. It is used as the object of a sentence. For example, “A book was passed to me.” The objective pronouns (Object) receive the action in the sentence.
Subjective and objective pronouns can be further categorised into singular or plural pronouns.
Today, I will focus only on “I” and “me”.
The first scenario: Use of subjective form “I”
Let’s consider this question: James and (?) are travelling to Australia next week.
Should it be: James and me are travelling to Australia next week?
Or should it be: James and I are travelling to Australia next week?
The trick is to remove the other person in the sentence and reread the sentence to yourself:
Note that I will be changing the helping verb to make it grammatical.
Me (are) am travelling to Australia next week.
I (are) am travelling to Australia next week.
I think it is easy to spot that we do not use “me” because in this sentence, the person has to be the doer/ or the subject of the sentence. We cannot say “me am travelling” but rather it should be “I am travelling”.
Now: Put “James” back into the sentence. Hence, the answer should be James and I are travelling to Australia next week!
In the above example, note that the pronoun to be used is “I’, in the subjective form because “I” is the doer in the sentence.
The second scenario: Use of objective form “me”
Let’s consider this question: Lionel gave Si Hui and (?) a cookie each.
Should it be: Lionel gave Si Hui and I a cookie each?
Or should it be: Lionel gave SI Hui and me a cookie each?
Similarly, take away Si Hui (the other object in the sentence).
Reread the sentence to yourself.
Lionel gave I a cookie.
Lionel gave me a cookie. Clearly this is correct because “me” is the receiver of the object.
Put Si Hui back into the sentence. Hence, the answer should be Lionel gave Si Hui and me a cookie each.
The pronoun to be used is “me”, in the objective form because “me” is the receiver of the action.
That wasn't so bad, right?
Let us try a bonus question:
My parents, my brother and (?) will be going to the cinema this Saturday.
Notice that there are 3 subjects here? “My parents”, “my brother”, and (?). You should do the same test as before to determine if the pronoun is “I” or “me”.
Since it should be “I will be going to the cinema this Saturday” and not “me will be going to the cinema this Saturday”, the correct answer is the subjective pronoun “I”.
But hey, have you thought about why do we put others in front of ourselves? For example, we say “my parents and I”, not “I and my parents”.
This is because we have to bear in mind the rule of politeness!
Consider: Mother brought me and my sister to the market. (wrong)
It should be: Mother brought my sister and me to the market.
Note: According to the rule of politeness, someone else will come first. In this example, your sister will come first.
In summary, to determine if the pronoun to be used is in subjective or objective form, cancel out the other pronoun (e.g. James) and read to yourself the sentence with the personal pronoun (e.g. I). Also, remember to apply the rule of politeness and put others before self!
Alright, you are ready to take a short quiz. You can find the quiz below. Have fun!
Ms Cynthia is an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. In her 5 years of English Language teaching experience, she has enjoyed guiding her students to explore the literary world and provide them with the tools to unpack and decipher texts. As a teacher who is passionate about the language, she hopes to inspire the children to become creative and critical thinkers who will be ready to face the challenges of the world.