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I versus Me

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Q: I get confused when trying to decide when to use the pronouns “I” and “me.” Sometimes it’s obvious, but other times I just can’t decide. What’s the rule?—Anonymous

A: Pronouns can be a little tricky from time to time, particularly “I” and “me,” but all you need to do is follow these guidelines to keep your writing grammatically correct.

If the pronoun is the subject of a clause, always use the nominative case, or “I.” I went to the park. After watching a scary movie, I hid under my bed for three days.

Whenever the pronoun is the object of the verb or the object of a preposition, you must use the objective case, or “me.” The principal called me to her office. She wanted to talk to me. The same rule applies even if a prepositional phrase contains two or more objects. Doug makes fun of my sister and me for hiding under the bed when we’re scared.

Also, if you find that the pronoun is the subject of an infinitive (to be, to hold, to pummel, etc.), use the objective case. My mom needed me to cut the grass.

These rules not only hold true for “I” and “me,” but also for all other pronouns. He bought a dog.The dress looked stunning on her.It’s a battle between them and us. Just follow the guides above when you’re having a case of pronoun-itis.

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Tuesday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

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