As an English teacher, I’ve listened to my share of complaints, from students and adults alike, about the challenges and frustrations of learning the rules of the English language. Though our mother tongue is an amazing hybrid of words we’ve adopted and adapted over time, it need not be a trial to learn its basic tenets. The purpose of my grammar posts will always be to simplify instead of complicate. I hope my explanations help bring the beauty of understanding from the ashes of confusion.

Let’s start with something simple.

I and Me

Rule: I is a subjective pronoun. Me is an objective pronoun.

Explanation:

By the time we reach Kindergarten, we know that only zany blue Muppets get away with saying, “Me want cookies!” What gets most grown-ups into trouble is the temptation to place the I where it doesn’t belong. Since it is a subjective pronoun, it always goes with the subject, so look for it at the beginning of the sentence.

I want to go to the movies. Henry and I are taking the dog to the vet. She and I are best friends.

Easy, right? The problems begin when we try to separate the I from the subject, as in the following examples:

Turn in your forms to Mrs. Harvey or I. If you have any questions, ask Martin or I. The teacher promised Janet and I extra credit.

The I’s in these sentences are trespassing on object territory.  Objects follow action verbs or prepositions and are often found near the end of a sentence.

The pronoun me (an objective pronoun) always works as an object.

Examples:

Turn [verb] in your forms to [prep] Mrs. Harvey or me.

If you have any questions, ask [verb] Martin or me.

The teacher promised [verb] Janet and me extra credit.

Make sense?

While there may be other concepts to consider, like prepositions and linking verbs, the basic rule is simple.

If you want to go deeper, check out the following website for more information or post a question for me. I’ll do my best to answer it. http://www.oestarapublishing.com/grammar/subob.html.

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