Me Myself or I

Time for the English Master to settle another contentious grammar issue, before someone gets hurt. Pat asks:

My friend and I were having a dispute about when to use “me” correctly in a sentence that’s referring to two people. If I were to say something along the lines as, “Is that meat okay for Bob and I/me to eat?” would I use I or me? If I were to eliminate Bob from the sentence, it would be correct to say “Is that meat okay for me to eat?” So why would I change me to I?

The Answer

You shouldn’t change “me” to “I.” The correct form of the sentence is: “Is that meat okay for Bob and me to eat?” You may breathe a sigh of relief now.

Your little test for discerning whether to use “I” or “me” is the same one that I use. Eliminate the other part of the noun phrase and see how it sounds with each pronoun.

People Have Become Me-Phobic!

The educated classes are so afraid of improperly using “me” in a sentence that they hyper-correct, going into all sorts of contortions to avoid it.

Here are a few examples of incorrect first-person pronoun usage:

  • Let’s keep this little secret between you and I.
  • The international community presented Mr. Trimble and myself with a prestigious award for our life-long commitment to saving the muskrat.
  • Davis will certainly choose you and I to co-chair the campaign.

All three of the sentences need “me” instead.

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37 Responses to Me Myself or I

  1. Janet says:

    If I had to write the sentence: Yet, my weaknesses and my strengths affect both my students and me. Would it be more grammatically correct to use me in that sentence?

  2. Sheila says:

    “Thank you for meeting today with Tim Brown, Bill Smith and myself (or me)regarding seminar in April”
    Would you use “myself” or “me” in this sentence.
    Thank you for your help

  3. Karl says:

    Hi Sheila,
    I would use “me,” and so should you. :)

    Thank you for meeting today with Tim Brown, Bill Smith and me regarding the seminar in April.

    To test this, remove “Tim Brown, Bill Smith and” from the sentence and see how the sentence looks.

  4. keri says:

    My girlfriend and I are having an argument about the use of “I and me” on her my-space page, under her pictures for her captions she writes:
    “Lisa and I”
    “Tammy, Lisa and I acting silly.”
    “Daddy and I Sunday in the country.”
    Am I mistaken or should all her “I’s” be me’s?

  5. kathy says:

    “I ordered me a pair of shoes online.” Is the word “me” used correctly in the sentence above, or should the word “myself” have been used instead?

  6. Jason says:

    Hi, in the following sentence, “The entire process is being reviewed at critical milestones by the team of Jim, Bob, David, Ken, and me”. Should the last word by “me” or “myself”? Please help. Thanks.

  7. Karl says:

    Keri, since you’re dealing with fragments there, it depends on what you think the rest of the sentence should be. I think that’s open to debate.
    Kathy, you would need the reflexive pronoun, “myself,” in that case.
    Jason, the last word should be “me.” You wouldn’t write, “The entire process is being reviewed by myself.” However, if you alone are reviewing the process, you might write, “I am reviewing the entire process by myself.”

  8. Carla says:

    I recently received an e-mail from a friend that said: The bridge winners were not Wilma and I.
    I thought it should say : The bridge winners were not Wilma and me.
    Which is correct? Could you explain? T

  9. Abhi says:

    I recently wrote to a friend:
    “on the otherhand, being fair to me….”
    Should I have used “myself” instead of “me” in the above sentence? My usage seemed to surprise my friend.

  10. Karl says:

    Hi Abhi,
    It depends on who is “being fair.” I might need to see the rest of the sentence. Notice the difference between these two sentences, for example:
    “On the other hand, being fair to myself, I took three pieces of cake.”
    “On the other hand, being fair to me, John helped clean the room.”
    Hope that helps.

  11. Carla albertuni says:

    Hi, I would like to know if I should use “me” or “my” in a sentence like this: “My dad is responsible for me being crazy about football.” (is “me” correct in this case?) Thanks so much.

  12. Andre says:

    As I understand it, the use of the words ‘myself’ and ‘yourself’ should only ever take place along with the words ‘I’ and ‘you’ respectively.
    eg. I made it myself.
    -and-
    Did you make it yourself?
    Am I correct?

  13. Lynne says:

    Are there loopholes in the English language to allow for familiar or formal speech? For instance, when I ring the doorbell of a friend who is expecting me, is it incorrect for me to respond to the question “Who is it?” with “It’s me” ?

  14. anna leda says:

    I am getting ready to submit a short story for a possible publication, but I am not sure if I should use “myself” or me in the following sentence. Please help. “But how could I glory myself in anyway, when I knew darn well that he was laughing at me? Worst of all

  15. Karl says:

    Hi Anna,
    I imagine you could get away with that in a work of fiction. I think I see the effect you’re trying to achieve. Ultimately, it will be up to the editor, I suppose. I’m not so sure about your first sentence, though. What does it mean to “glory myself”? Did you mean “glorify”? Also, “anyway” should be two words: “any way.” Good luck with the publisher!

  16. sheila says:

    Hi there,
    HELP!!!
    I am confused by this sentence – which is the correct verb?
    Sandy or Christine (bake/ bakes) cookies for every party.

  17. Jason says:

    Hi,
    I think there’s something wrong with the use of “most amount” in the following sentence, but I can’t put my finger on it. “When installing the box on the rail of the tank, we recommend you use the unit with the most amount of tanks, and closest to the flow sensor”. Am I crazy? And if “most amount” is wrong, why is it wrong? Should “greatest number” be used instead? I’m so confused! Thanks!

  18. Karl says:

    Hi Jason,
    No, you’re not crazy. Yes, “greatest number” should be used instead. You can read about why “most amount” is wrong at the Columbia Guide to Standard American English.

  19. mel says:

    Neither myself nor my family celebrate easter.
    is this correct?

  20. Karl says:

    Mel, in your sentence you should use I instead of myself:
    Neither my family nor I celebrate Easter.

  21. kelly says:

    I enrolled Garrett and myself in the program.
    Is that correct?

  22. MARY jackson says:

    Actual attendees were Diarmuid, Scott, Darren, Jo-Ellen and ??? (me or myself). Thanks

  23. Karl says:

    Neither. You should use “I” in that sentence, since “were” is a linking verb. Consider switching the subject and the predicate nominative to get a better sense of why you would use “I”:
    Diarmuid, Scott, Darren, Jo-Ellen and I were attendees.

  24. josh says:

    Is this sentence correct?
    If you have any questions or concerns, please call Aaron Smith or me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX to discuss the project.

  25. Karl says:

    Josh,
    It looks good to me.

  26. Alastair says:

    Karl,
    Regarding your correct of the first post to: “If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact either Sue or me at [email protected]“, I’m not convinced this is correct. I’m not so sure the original sentence is correct or complete either, unless the email address [email protected] applies to both people. It feels like the sentence is out of context and if the sue.smith email address is in fact Sue’s email address, I would rewrite it as:
    If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me, or Sue at [email protected].
    Actually, that doesn’t really read too well either. The whole sentence is wrong! :)

  27. Terry says:

    Hi Karl,
    Are there times when it’s okay to use the wrong pronoun when common usage makes the correct form uncomfortable?
    For example, the famous phrase used at break-up time: “It’s not you, it’s me.” just sounds pretentious using the correct pronoun: “It’s not you, it’s I.”
    Where do you draw the line?

  28. Karl says:

    Hi Terry,
    Sure, there are times when it’s appropriate to use what might seem to be incorrect grammar. The case you mention is a good example. Another one is “Woe is me.” Check out Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner for a lighthearted discussion of some of these grammatical bugbears.

  29. SmithHousehold says:

    I found the question I was wondering about asked by Keri somewhere above but no answer so I was wondering if using I or me in photos on MySpace is proper… I see a lot of people with titles of their photos “Mom and I” and so on…. I think me sounds better but what is correct? Isn’t me correct if you are the object… and are you not the object of the photo?

  30. p says:

    A friend argues that you never put yourself first in a sentence such as “I and Joe went to town.” He says, it is always “Joe and I.” I had heard on the other hand, that “the first named person gets blame or praise for the action in the sentence, therefore order your list accordingly.” Which is right? Thanks!

  31. TrevC says:

    Just stumbled across this via Google. Very interesting.
    Unfortunately, nearly everyone will still perceive the correct usage as unintelligent sounding.

  32. Karl says:

    Yes, that is unfortunate.Perhaps it says something about how intelligent nearly everyone is.

  33. Keegen says:

    I thought to use myself, but spellcheck corrected it to be I…which is correct in the following sentance?
    We have requested the nights of Jan 2 & 12th at the Novotel Hotel and either I or our air expert John will forward you this confirmation as soon as it is received from Bangkok.
    Thanks!
    Keegen

  34. Deanna says:

    Which one is correct?
    He was aware of the difficulty between my mother and myself.
    -or-
    He was aware of the difficulty between my mother and me.
    Which one is correct?
    Greg put the camera on automatic so he could film both he and his brother.
    -or-
    Greg put the camera on automatic so he could film both himself and his brother.