When To Use “I” Or “Me”

Is it “my friends and I” or “my friends and me”? Both I and me are pronouns. But there’s a clear difference between the two: I is what is known as a subject pronoun, and me is an object pronoun.

So what exactly does that mean?

The difference between I and me

The pronoun I can be used as the subject of a sentence, and me can only be used as the object of one. I can perform an action, while me can only have actions performed upon it.

When to use I

A subject pronoun can replace the noun (person, place, or thing) that’s performing the action (or verb) in any sentence. I is most often used as the subject of a verb. I can do things. You can say things like “I ran” or “I sneezed.” This rules applies when there is more than one noun as the subject. For example: Jennifer and I researched Isabel Allende for class. How do you know whether to use I or me here? First, ignore Jennifer and. Consider each pronoun individually. Is “I researched” or “me researched” correct? The answer is “I researched.” So I is the right pronoun to use in this case.

Traditionally, the use of I is also appropriate when it follows a linking verb like is, was, or were. Linking verbs express a state of being rather than describing an action. They’re usually paired with subject pronouns. Technically, that means saying it is I is correct, but English speakers tend to use it is me informally as well.

Examples of I in a sentence

  • I fixed the remote control. (subject)
  • My husband and I checked into the hotel. (subject)
  • Could I speak to Vanessa? – It is I. (after a linking verb)

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When to use me

An object pronoun may replace a sentence’s direct object, indirect object, or the object of the preposition. The object pronoun me is typically used as the direct or indirect object of a sentence. It receives the action of the verb or shows the result of the action. So you shouldn’t really say “Me ran.” You can say “My dog ran to me,” because in this case me is receiving the action of the dog running.

As we’ve already noted,  the use of me is also appropriate following a linking verb like is, was, or were.

Examples of me in a sentence

  • My grandfather bought me a book. (object)
  • Give me the money. (object)
  • Albert, is that you? – Yes, it’s me. (after a linking verb)

What gives the pronoun "I" capitalized status? Let's find out!

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