Have you ever been in a situation where people criticized your use of the pronouns me, myself, and I? You got all defensive, but after a while, you’re not so sure you’re right anymore.
Among all other pronouns, the first-person singular pronouns cause the most headache and confusion. This especially rings true for ESL learners. Here’s an example:
“Last vacation was fantastic. Bobby and me went to see the new Star Wars: Galaxy Edge on Disneyland. It was packed full but we still managed to get a good time there.”
If you gloss it over, you may have missed the error. Here’s the correct version:
“Last vacation was fantastic. Bobby and I went to see the new Star Wars: Galaxy Edge on Disneyland. ..”
In that example, we must use the pronoun I instead of the object pronoun me. Let’s elaborate the difference between the pronoun me, myself, and I to clear things up.
As an object pronoun, me is used as an object in a sentence following a verb or a preposition. Examples:
- You wouldn’t hurt me, right? (Object of the verb hurt)
- He called me a jerk. (Object of the verb called)
- Pass the ball to me! (Object of the preposition to)
- Please do it for me. (Object of the preposition for)
Even when the sentence uses a compound object, you still need to use me instead of I or myself. Examples:
- Boss called Mike and me the other day.
- If anything happens, call me or mom.
The only time when you should use myself is when you refer to an I mentioned earlier in the sentence. Most of the times, you can do without using myself as it is redundant. Writers, however, will use it to emphasize who the subject is.
- I will fix the patio myself.
- I myself feel something is amiss.
- I have never thought about it myself.
I is a subject pronoun and we use it strictly in the role of a subject to a verb like this:
- I am here with you.
- I will be there without fail.
- I made some breakfast.
Yes, even when you slip it in a compound subject.
- Both Kira and I think you’re innocent.
- Mom and I have talked it over.
- Geoffrey and I would like to visit you again.
“Hmm, I still think using me is still appropriate for those sentences…”
If you think using me is OK, let’s do a little test. We’ll cross out the other subjects, replace I with me and see how it goes.
- Both Kira and me think you’re innocent.
- Mom and me have talked it over.
- Geoffrey and me would like to visit you again.
They just don’t sound right at all.
OK, that’s a wrap. We hope this short article can rid of any confusion you still had about the pronouns me, myself, and I. Now, go and write some articles using those three. If, for some reason, you are still unsure about whether you’re right or not, use the online spelling and grammar checker. It’s quite handy.