Grammar Minute – I or me?

One of the most common grammar rules that we have drilled into our heads from a fairly young age is to use “and I” when listing yourself with other people. Unfortunately, “Bob and I” should sometimes be “Bob and me,” and one of the common grammar errors I find is overusing “and I.” 

So what is the difference?

Whether to use “and I” or “and me” depends on where in a sentence you are listing people. 

“and I”: when the list of people is the subject of the sentence, use “and I.”
Usually, these lists will come at the beginning of a sentence or be doing something.
ex. “Bob and I really enjoyed going to the concert.”

“and me”: when the list of people is being acted upon (is the object), use “and me.”
Usually, these lists will come later in the sentence or will be receiving an action.
ex. “Will you please tell Bob and me when you’re ready?”

Here’s my trick: try replacing the list of people with “we” or “us.” 
If “we” would fit better, then you should use “and I.” 
If “us” would fit better, then you should use “and me.”

This can also be used to determine whether to use “he/she” or “him/her.” You can also substitute “they” and “them” instead of “we” and “us” if it fits better in your sentence.

Subject PronounsObject Pronouns
(You, It)
(You, It)

I find that saying the sentence out loud can help when subjects and objects get confusing.

The good news is that the more you find and fix this error in your writing, the more natural it will become to use the correct form. With that in mind, here’s your opportunity to get more comfortable with using I/he/she and me/him/her correctly:

Your “homework”:

1. Pick one or two (unedited) chapters to check.
2. Search for instances of “and I,” “and me,” “me,” “I,” “and he/she,” and “and him/her.” 
3. Use the substitution “we” or “us” to determine whether you should use I/he/she or me/him/her.
4. Fix any errors you find. If you aren’t sure which word should be used in certain sentences, send them my way; I’m happy to help!
5. Enjoy the feeling of knowing your book is even better than it was before!

Paige K

What are your grammar hang-ups? Let me know, and you may see them featured in future blog posts.

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