Proper Use of the Personal Pronoun “I”

I think there are a lot of people afraid of me.

I mean, the word “me” – not me personally.

It is okay to use the word “me”, folks.

I cringe when I see misuse of the personal pronoun “I”.

I often see examples of what NOT to do in captions under photos on Facebook, such as:

“Sally and I at Disneyland”

“Mom and Dad at John and I’s Wedding”

“Baby Boy with Daddy and I”

“Hilda gave these flowers to Suzy and I”

Perhaps as a child, when you said, “Doug and me are going to the store,” you were corrected by some well-meaning person, “You mean, ‘Doug and I are going to the store,” so you assumed that every time you say “me” you should replace it with “I”, regardless of where it falls in the sentence.

An easy test to see if you’re using your words properly is to ask yourself, “Does this sentence still make sense if I remove the other person?”

This even works in phrases that are not actual sentences, such as photo captions.  Watch this:

“Sally and I at Disneyland”.

Remove Sally from the picture and see if it still makes sense.

“I at Disneyland”.

Um, no.  Sounds dumb.

The phrase “Me at Disneyland” sounds better, albeit a little Captain Caveman-ish, but it’s just a caption and not an actual sentence so you can get away with it that way.

“Mom and Dad at John and I’s Wedding”.

That is not the easiest thing to caption, but I would do it like this:

“Mom and Dad at John’s and my wedding.”

In short:

1.  Ask yourself if the sentence or phrase still makes sense without mention of the other person.

2.  When dealing with more than one person and yourself, mention the other(s) first.

3.  Never end a sentence with “I”.

caveman

Captain Caveman, cartoon character from the 1970s

 

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