Poor Little Me

Poor little ol’ “me” has been relegated to the geeky and uncool clique. You just never hear it any more. Poor me.

“Me” has long been used as the predicate form of self (that’s how it was invented, and is its purpose). Nowadays, most folks think it’s always appropriate to refer to themselves as “I,” even when it’s not grammatically correct. Maybe it’s the, “When in doubt, use ‘I’” syndrome.

Consider the following:

Standing under the bronze statue, Melissa waited patiently for Sue and me to show up.

Gasp! Did you see that? I’ll repeat it: Standing under the bronze statue, Melissa waited patiently for Sue and me to show up.

Yes, that’s right, I wrote “Sue and me.”

Somewhere in my DNA, combined with my upbringing and education, I became one of those persons to whom grammar and spelling mismanagement are a source of irritation. One of my particular peeves is the misuse of “I” and “me.” I am frankly surprised at the number of people who believe that, when referencing another person and themselves, it is always proper to use “I.” Not so, I tell you.

So here’s the general rule: If you are putting yourself into the subject of the sentence, use “I;” if in the predicate, then use “me.” It is always proper to use “me” at the end of a prepositional phrase, as it is the object of the preposition, and those are always in the predicate.

An easy way to remember this is to leave out the person or persons with whom you’re pairing yourself and say the sentence without them. Here are some examples:

A predicate example: Melissa waited patiently for Sue and me to show up. Take Sue out of the sentence. “Melissa waited for me” sounds right. “Melissa waited for I” does not sound right (and that would be because it isn’t correct). “For me” is a prepositional phrase, and it’s in the predicate, so “me” is the correct word.

Another predicate example: They presented a beautiful bouquet to my husband and me. (…presented a bouquet to “me,” not to “I.”)

One more predicate example: The fire truck raced past my friend and me. (…raced past “me,” not …raced past “I.”)

A subject example: My dog and I splashed around the lakeshore. “I splashed” sounds right. “Me splashed” doesn’t sound right. My dog and I are the subjects of the sentence. It is we who are performing the action, so “I” is the correct word.

I confess, I am unloading here. It has been cathartic, and I thank you for your time.

14 thoughts on “Poor Little Me

  1. I think we are kindred spirits. As an English teacher, am always cringing at the misuse of “I.” I featured it once as my “Blunder of the Week.”
    My husband’s pet peeve is the misuse of “myself” – “If you have any questions, see Mr. Smith or myself.” >Aaargh!<
    I'm especially bothered when Christian songs have glaring errors. They distract from something I don't want to be distracted from… Which is what's happening now, isn't it? … Dang…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am totally on the same page with you! I am known by my husband and children as the “Grammar Nazi” since I corrected by husband’s love letters to me and sent them back to you with red marks all over them. His grammar is still atrocious, but we have been married 45 years and I’m still correcting. Cases of prononuns drive me nuts: nominative or objective. Choose well and wisely!

    Liked by 1 person

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