I vs Me

Mistakes made with the English pronouns I and me have been increasing exponentially for years. The difference is actually very simple – let me explain it to you.


I is the first person singular subject pronoun , which means that it refers to the person performing the action of a verb.

I want to go.

This is the one I like.

You and I need to get ready.

Tom and I are going to the movies.


Me is an object pronoun, which means that it refers to the person that the action of a verb is being done to, or to whom a preposition refers.

David told me to leave.

He gave me ten dollars.

Between you and me, this is a bad idea.

She needs to talk to Joe or me.

The Bottom Line

This confusion usually occurs when you have I/me connected to another pronoun or name with "and" or "or." I believe that the confusion begins when someone says something like "John and me are ready" and that is corrected to "John and I are ready." The speaker then thinks, "Oh, the word ‘and’ means that I should always use I." This is not the case. "And" has nothing to do with it; the reason you say "John and I" in that sentence is that "John and I" are the subject. If they were the object, you’d use me: "He told John and me to get ready."

If you are not good with grammar concepts like subject and objects, there is still a very easy way to decide whether to use I or me: try out the sentence with just I or me (or if you need a plural, we or us – "we" is equivalent to "I" and "us" is equivalent to "me."):

He told Tom and (I or me?) to get ready.
He told I to get ready? NO
He told me to get ready? YES
Therefore, He told Tom and me to get ready.

If John and (I or me?) get married, we’ll have two kids.
If me get married? NO
If I get married? YES
Therefore, If John and I get married, we’ll have two kids.

Just between you and (I or me?), this is a bad idea.
Because "between" needs to be followed by a plural, we’ll use "we" and "us" to figure this out.
Just between we? NO
Just between us? YES
Just between you and me, this is a bad idea.

And whatever you do, please don’t use a subject pronoun and object pronoun together!

He and I – correct: "He and I are going to town."
Him and me – correct: "She told him and me the truth."
Him and I – WRONG
He and me – WRONG

Related Lessons

51 comments for “I vs Me

  1. nick
    7 March 2014 at 16:48

    Awesome . Good and very easy to understand.

  2. Anne
    20 March 2014 at 09:37

    My husband had a co-worker who used to “correct” people who didn’t use I. He is one of those people who thinks you always pair a name with I. I don’t mind if people just don’t know any better, but to correct others when you don’t really know what you are talking about is frustrating. I explained to my husband that his co-worker was incorrect and taught him the trick about removing the name to figure out which pronoun to use. Those of us who use correct pronouns are in the minority, and we face uphill battle. People look at us as if we are clueless. Grrrr.

    • Gilda
      16 February 2015 at 14:14

      I so agree with you!! Even the most well educated make that mistake! Do you watch ANY of the ‘housewives’? They ALL do it! Drives me crazy!!

    • Ryan
      9 April 2015 at 20:13

      I have a friend who does the exact same thing. Annoys the hell out of me and I keep telling him the proper way to use it but he never listens.

  3. Janet Budge
    24 March 2014 at 14:07

    And you spend several days teaching this to kids in just this way, and most of them pass the test, but because the incorrect way is what they hear, they still speak incorrectly. My head is sore from banging it on the wall. Also, I tried ‘less versus fewer, and had the same results. At my age, I should know better, but because I’m one of the grammar police–probably the one you were warned about, I keep on trying.

  4. Fiona
    26 March 2014 at 15:45

    This is a very clear and easily understood explanation.
    My son (age 10) was corrected on his use of I/me at school but the reason was not explained clearly to him. He thought it was always ‘and me’ and as the teacher is always right he wouldn’t believe me!
    Thank goodness he accepted this as my back up plan.

  5. jeff
    28 March 2014 at 11:08

    What is the correct way to say…… “do us the honor of joining Janice and me for Sunday dinner” or is it “do us the honor of joining janice and I for Sunday dinner”

    • lkl
      28 March 2014 at 18:44

      As the lesson says, you can figure it out by taking out the other name. Would you say “joining I for dinner” or “joining me for dinner”?

    • retiredlibrarian
      28 March 2014 at 19:57

      C’mon–join I for dinner? Join Janice and me, please.

    • Hans Glogauer
      21 November 2014 at 16:29

      Joining me, of course. But how about this sentence: “Robert hit Jane not I” or
      “Robert hit Jane not me.”

      Of course it depends on who hit whom. I didn’t hit Jane or Robert hit me

      • lkl
        23 November 2014 at 07:25

        “Robert hit Jane not I” – Robert hit Jane, I didn’t hit her.

        “Robert hit Jane not me” – Robert hit Jane, he didn’t hit me.

  6. Chet
    13 April 2014 at 11:37

    Are both of these correct? George asked me to conduct. George asked that I conduct.
    Can any words be left out and still be correct? George asked I conduct. Are both correct (without “of these”)? Are these correct (without “both of”)?
    Thank you.

    • lkl
      13 April 2014 at 15:29

      They are both correct, but “George asked me to conduct” sounds more natural. The other is kind of stilted/formal.

      No, you can’t leave out any words. “George asked I conduct” is wrong.

      “Are both correct” and “Are these correct” are both fine.

  7. Donna
    6 May 2014 at 02:26

    I remember from a very young age how teachers constantly interrupted when students would start a sentence with, “Me and John,” or “John and me.” The teacher would wag their finger and say, “You mean John and I.” This was stressed so often without any further explanation. I believe this is why so many people always use I instead of me. Example: Janet had John and I over for dinner, instead of the correct way: Janet had John and me over for dinner. They seem to think if there’s an “and” then the rule is to say, “I.” Fortunately, I had a teacher who explained the rule and she also taught me the trick of removing the second name. This has become a pet peeve for me simply because I see so many people, who are supposed to be highly educated, make this mistake repeatedly. Why are they not corrected anywhere from middle school through college?

  8. SET
    8 May 2014 at 23:22

    My son is in 2nd grade and has a substitute filling in the last 6 weeks of school because his teacher just had a baby. It did not make a great impression that she sent home a letter using “I” incorrectly on her first day!

  9. Andy
    21 May 2014 at 08:42

    If you have someone explain back to you the reasons posted above about subject and object pronouns, in their explanation, they will hear exactly how I or me should be used.

  10. English student
    7 June 2014 at 14:21

    Me and Bobby Mc Gee is a song from Janis Joplin; If donna´s teacher had heard this song would he have wagged his finger again? I dont think so. It´s the same when I say
    You are an expert in english grammar.; and (what about ) me? No, I am not.
    As a result : (about) Me and (about ) Bobby Mc Gee.. However Bobby Mc Gee and I never met each other. HE never met ME and I never met HIM.

    Are these correct? Thank you for the explanation .

  11. cathy
    17 June 2014 at 08:21

    Is it I or me? “There’s Oliver and I on the walk” or “There’s Oliver and me on the walk.” (Caption on a picture posted to Facebook.

    • lkl
      17 June 2014 at 09:08

      Let me ask you this: would you say “there’s we on the walk” or “there’s us on the walk”?

    • Karla
      8 January 2015 at 14:28

      Actually, neither is correct. There’s means there is, and you are referring to two people. It should be There are Oliver and me on a walk.

      • Kate
        20 January 2015 at 15:53

        Are you sure that “There are Oliver and me on a walk” is correct? Not “There are Oliver and I on a walk?”

  12. Somebody
    29 June 2014 at 04:18

    Is it “So you should be taking the credit for the success, not me” or “So you should be taking the credit for the succes, not I?”

    Thanks in advance!

    • lkl
      29 June 2014 at 11:06

      The grammatically correct response is “not I.” But “not me” is so common that many people don’t consider it wrong.

  13. rachel
    23 July 2014 at 15:50

    How about when you are tagging a photo in FB? Is it John, Mike and I or John Mike and Me?

    • lkl
      1 August 2014 at 08:15

      “I” is technically correct, but unless you’re writing to someone like the Pope, “me” is acceptable.

  14. LEB
    2 August 2014 at 04:02

    The same rule applies. Take out the names John and Mike. What would you say now?
    “This is me” or “This is I”?
    The correct way is “John, Mike and me”.

  15. Jo
    10 September 2014 at 13:00

    would it be “her and me,” or “she and I,” when followed by “are.” For example, “Her/She and me/I are going to the mall today.”

    • lkl
      12 September 2014 at 13:25

      As it says in the bottom line, try substituting “we” or “us.”

      We is a subject pronoun like “she” and “I.”

      Us is an object pronoun like “her” and “me.”

  16. Tom
    10 November 2014 at 15:08

    Is it ; you think your so much better than me ,or is it I ,and why ?

    • lkl
      14 November 2014 at 07:55

      There’s some debate about this, but most grammarians say “you think you’re so much better than I” because “than” is a conjunction joining two sentences. If you add a verb at the end, this is very clear: you think you’re so much better than I am.

    • juan
      14 November 2014 at 08:24

      It is I ,in this case I would just end the phrase as follows ” you think you are much better than I am “

  17. 24 January 2015 at 01:09

    how it will be for alchemist line
    “Who is this stranger who speak of omens ?”asked the chieftain
    “It is I” the boy answered
    Here Instead of I , “Its me” would have been more accurate as I have read and heard this at many places….. how” I ” has been used here I didn’t understood …pls correct me..

  18. Maillette
    2 February 2015 at 16:23

    I am so confused….Which is correct?

    Thank you for helping Jon and I sort through this paperwork.
    Thank you for helping Jon and me sort through this paperwork.

    • lkl
      2 February 2015 at 17:30

      Again, take out “Jon and” to find the answer. Would you say “Thank you for helping I” or “Thank you for helping me”?

  19. Jo R
    23 February 2015 at 16:17

    Wondering about using “I” in a list. For example, when asked who brought dessert, is it okay to say, “Beth, I, and Jane.” Or does “I” need to be at the end, such as “Beth, Jane, and I.”

    • lkl
      28 February 2015 at 07:11

      Yes, “I” needs to be last.

      • Jo R
        28 February 2015 at 13:18

        Thank you for your response to using “I” in a list. I’ve had an ongoing “discussion” with a friend about it, where she insists “I” can be used in place of a name and placed anywhere in a list. I will definitely share your reply with her! Jo R.

  20. thomi
    4 March 2015 at 07:49

    Which is the correct answer in this question:
    Who’s the tallest in your family?
    “I am” or “Me”
    Thank you in advance!!!!

    • lkl
      4 March 2015 at 08:00

      I am is the preferred answer, but me is also acceptable.

  21. FCZ
    20 March 2015 at 08:20

    What makes me crazy is how few writers of ‘indie’ books on Amazon have a clue about the difference between subject and object pronouns. People who claim to be professional writers really should know the things taught in ninth grade grammar! I will usually give up on a book around the end of the first chapter, however promising the plot, if the author cannot write using reasonably grammatical English… and leave a one or two star review. As this “elearnenglishlanguage.com” page demonstrates, it really isn’t that difficult a rule to learn.

  22. Arnold
    6 April 2015 at 13:54

    How about “be” or “will be” i.e. Attending the meeting will be Jim and I or is it me?

  23. kelly
    13 April 2015 at 01:34

    Liked your advice but it didn’t answer my question. What about sentences that don’t use and. Ex –My parents like surfing more than I/me

    • lkl
      14 April 2015 at 06:45

      I answered a very similar question in an earlier comment:

      14 November 2014 at 07:55

      There’s some debate about this, but most grammarians say “you think you’re so much better than I” because “than” is a conjunction joining two sentences. If you add a verb at the end, this is very clear: “you think you’re so much better than I am.”

      Same general rules apply to your example: My parents like surfing more than I (do).

  24. Cameron
    21 April 2015 at 15:04

    I was posting a picture of my daughter and I playing dress up. I wrote “Anabel and I playing dress up.” WHen I try to take out my daughters name it would be either “I playing dress up” or “me playing dress up.” It seems like me is correct. Is that true?

    Should it be Anabel and me playing dress up?

    • lkl
      21 April 2015 at 17:13

      Yes, because what you’re really saying is “This is Anabel and me playing dress up.”

  25. Jackalyn
    10 May 2015 at 15:01

    I have a question.
    Scenario: A couple of my friends are playing beer pong. I stated “Me and Julie are playing next.”

    My friend decided to correct me and announces to speak proper English.
    He said it’s “Julie and I” But I feel like I am not wrong when saying “Me and Julie”. If I am please explain. Because I used “Me” first not last. I didn’t say “Julie and me” I said “Me and Julie”.

    • lkl
      15 May 2015 at 10:16

      In that sentence, “me and Julie” is wrong for the same reason as “Julie and me” is wrong: me is not a subject pronoun.

  26. 18 May 2015 at 13:40

    I have been told two different answers to this issue: When using “me” in the compound predicate, there is an exception, and “me” should come first in line.

    Ex. He gave the apples to me and Diana.

    I’ve also been told that the first person pronoun “always” comes last in line.

    Ex. He gave the apples to Diana and me.

    So… which is the correct answer? Or are they both acceptable?

    Thanks for your reply.


    • lkl
      19 May 2015 at 18:30

      There’s no grammatical rule, but it’s customary to put “me” last.

  27. Barbara
    3 June 2015 at 00:40

    I found your article after a frustrating day of no less than a dozen different people using ‘I’ when it should be ‘me’, as well as writing ‘your’ when it should be ‘you’re’. They honestly think they’re right and pity anyone who disagrees.

    It happens so often, even among educated and professional speakers and writers, that for the first time in my life I have doubted my own grammar, but only for a few seconds. Your post and comments calmed me right down as it confirmed what I already knew to be proper grammar. Thank you.

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