When to use “me” instead of “I” is an important rule to learn. Selecting the wrong pronoun will ruin your writing and turn readers against you. Unlike “who” vs. “whom”, learning when to use “me” or “I” is very easy to learn.
When to Use “I”
“I” is a singular first-person pronoun. Using “I” conveys that perspective of the author or narrating character.
Use “I” when referring to the person performing the action — the subject to the verb in the sentence.
- I play soccer.
“I” is the subject and “play” is the verb.
- Jill and I fetched water.
“Jill and I” is the subject and “fetched” is the verb.
When to Use “Me”
“Me” is a singular first-person object pronoun. Use “me” as an object of the verb when the sentence has a different subject.
- Jill played soccer with me.
“Jill” is the subject of the verb “played”, “me” is the object.
- Jack fetched water for me and Jill.
“Jack” is the subject of the verb “fetched”, “me” and “Jill” are objects.
Master the Rule
Don’t worry if subjects and objects are confusing. Determining the proper pronoun is really simple.
Swap “I” for “me” and see if your sentence still makes sense. If not, you’ve determined the correct pronoun.
- (I or Me) went with Jack to fetch water.
“I” went with Jack sounds right while “Me” went with Jack clearly sounds wrong. Here, “I” is the correct choice since it is the subject. Your own movement is the focus of the sentence.
Sometimes it can get confusing when there are more than one person included in the sentence. The trick here is to ignore the other person and focus on “I” or “me”.
- Jill fetched water for Jack and (I or me).
Jill fetched water for “me” sounds correct while Jill fetched water for “I” does not. “Me” is the correct pronoun since it is the object and Jill is the subject. Jill’s movement is the focus of the sentence.
So, use "I" when the focus of the sentence is on yourself, and "me" if the focus of the sentence is on someone or something else.