Simple Grammatical Rule

Simple Grammatical Rule: Me, Myself and I

This rule of grammar seems to really stump. I read it occasionally, especially when editing young writers. But I hear it spoken often. At the grocery store, in schools, on Ghost Hunters, on the evening news. THE NEWS! Spoken by journalists.

When referring to yourself and another person, a simple way to remember the proper line-up is as follows –

RULE: The sentence should sound correct IF YOU REMOVE THE NAME OF THE OTHER PERSON, whose name, by the way, should come first in sequence.

NO: Would you like to go to the park with me and Fred?
WHY: Mention the other person first.
FOLLOWING THE RULE: Would you like to go to the park with me?
YES: Would you like to go to the park with Fred and me?

NO: Fred and myself were sitting on the bench.
WHY: You wouldn’t say “Myself was sitting on the bench”.
FOLLOWING THE RULE: I was sitting on the bench.
YES: Fred and I were sitting on the bench.

NO: Will you join Fred and I for ice cream?
WHY: You are trying to sound smart, but you sound dumb.
FOLLOWING THE RULE: Will you join me for ice cream?
YES: Will you join Fred and me for ice cream?

NO: Me and Fred will be swimming.
WHY: Mention the other person first, AND you wouldn’t say “Me will be swimming.”
FOLLOWING THE RULE: I will be swimming.
YES: Fred and I will be swimming.

Now you have the rule, so I shouldn’t need to continue. If you’re still unsure, email me. I will be more than happy to help you!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Simple Grammatical Rule: Me, Myself and I”

  1. i’m still confused when “it’s about me”. Do you have a simple rule?

    Who knows better than me?
    Who knows better than I?
    Who knows better than I do?

    Thanks.

    Marty

    1. This is a bit of a different question than what I’ve addressed above. But I bet we can figure out an easy way to look at it.

      First, we can eliminate one of your options: Who knows better than I do? It’s not incorrect, by any means. It’s just that normally “do” (the verb) is implied and understood, and therefore, dropped from the sentence. (We’ll revisit it in a moment.)

      There are winding lessons regarding conjunctions, prepositions, subject, subject verb, etc. I’m not here to teach you those lessons and give you the history of grammar – I’m here to give you a simple rule.

      My go-to method: “answer your own question”. Not with they/she/he and all the variations, but with I/me/my. (In this case, we know my is not an option, so let’s skip it.)
      Who knows better than me? Me know better than me. I know better than me.
      Who knows better than I? Me know better than I. I know better than I.
      Obviously, the me sentences just don’t cut it.

      We can better determine what we are “answering” if we fill in the “blanks”, the parts of the sentence that give us reference. Here is where we revisit Who knows better than I do? By filling in the “blanks”, the verb do is dropped and replaced by a completed clause.
      Who knows better than me know what I hope to gain from my college experience?
      Who knows better than I know what I hope to gain from my college experience?
      Obvious again is that the me sentence doesn’t work.

      Who knows better than I know? Me. I do. 🙂

  2. My boss insisted to use ‘I’ in the following: Please join Fred and I in congratulating Divine on her promotion.

    I believe it should be: Please join Fred and me in congratulating Divine on her promotion.

    What do you think?

    1. You are absolutely correct. If taking out Fred, your boss would not say, “Please join I in congratulating Divine on her promotion.”

      He could use I had he said, “Fred and I would like you to congratulate Divine on her promotion.”

Say something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s