A Reminder About "John and I" vs. "John and Me"

 

A friendly reminder: Don’t say “between you and I.” And don’t say “The boss wants to talk with Bob and I” or “Thanks for meeting with John and I.”

It’s me. Me, me, me. In all those sentences, “I” is a poor choice. Yes, you could argue that the “I” form is idiomatic. But why would you want to? You’re just inviting people to look down their noses at you. And because it’s just as easy to use “me,” there’s no reason to come off like you don’t know the difference between object and subject pronouns.

And if you don’t know the difference now, you will in about thirty seconds. Here goes: “I” is a subject pronoun, which means it acts as the subject of a verb. “Me” is an object pronoun, which means it works as the object of a verb or the object of a preposition. So it’s:

I am here = I is the subject of the verb am

I believe in hard work = I is the subject of the verb believe

I knocked his block off = I is the subject of the verb knocked

 

Kiss me = me is the object of the verb kiss

He saw me = me is the object of the verb saw

Come with me = me is the object of the preposition with

Talk to me = me is the object of the preposition to

 

Easy right? Yes. And contrary to popular belief, it’s just as easy when you introduce another person. Nothing changes.

She and I are here = I is a subject of the verb are

Brad and I believe in hard work = I is a subject of the verb believe

My trusty robot and I knocked his block off = I is the subject of the verb knocked

 

Kiss my baby and me = me is the object of the verb kiss

He saw Craig and me = me is the object of the verb saw

Come with Claire and me = me is the object of the preposition with

Talk to Steve and me = me is the object of the preposition to

 

When in doubt, just try the sentence without the other person. If it’s “me” when Steve, Claire and the gang are absent, it’s “me” when they’re present, too.

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5 Responses to “A Reminder About "John and I" vs. "John and Me"”

  1. My question is in the "as much as I/me" situation. Do I use I with an implied "do" or use me as an object? He doesn't eat as much as I/me? He runs faster than I/me?

  2. Carina: You're asking which is correct: "He doesn't eat as much as I" or "He doesn't eat as much as me." Right?

    Well, like all things in grammar, this issue isn't cut-and-dried. As you know, both sentences imply action (eating). They both mean "He doesn't eat as much as I do." (Or he doesn't eat as much as I eat.)

    Which pronoun do you use when you have decided, for whatever reason, to drop the verb? That's a tough to answer because, if you follow the simple rules of syntax, you can just omit that verb and say "He doesn't eat as much as I." But the problem is that no one talks like that. In fact, to me, it sounds so unnatural as to draw my attention away from the content of the sentence and toward its form. (It's a distraction from the message itself, which to me means it fails the litmus test of effective communication.) A lot of other people would probably agree it sounds stuffy or unnatural, which is why many experts would argue it's perfectly idiomatic to say "He doesn't eat as much as me."

    So the choice is yours.
    If you want to be grammatical but stiff: He eats more than I.
    If you want to sound natural but leave yourself vulnerable to nitpickers: He eats more than me.
    If you want to play it safe: He eats more than I do.

  3. Which is correct in a situation such as a caption to a photo labeled "Marsha, John, and I"?
    It looks odd to me, and I think "I" should perhaps be "me," but I can't find any proof.
    If I turn it into a sentence it should be me?[This photo shows] Marsha, John, and me.
    What do you think?

  4. Laura: The choice between "I" and "me" depends on the sentence structure, and your example isn't a sentence. It's just some nouns. So either "Marsha, John, and I" or "Marsha, John, and Me" could be correct. It's when a verb is present -- or even implied -- that the rules kick in. If the photo caption is an implied way of saying, "Marsha, John, and I visited the Eiffel Tower," then you need a subject for the verb "visited." And because "I" is the subject form, it would be correct in this context. In "The Eiffel Tower dwarfs Marsha, John, and me," the object pronoun "me" is correct because it's the object of the verb.

    But there's a twist here: A truncated photo caption like this might be understood to mean "HERE ARE Marsha, John, and I/me," and that structure is a weird one. Think about "Here we are" then flip it into "Here are we." That's kind of what a photo caption might mean. And note that, while this works with "we" (a subject), it doesn't work with "us" (an object). Here we are. not here us are. So subject pronouns like "we" and "I" make more grammatical sense here.

    However, to follow this rule to the letter would be a bit like saying, "Laura is taller than I" in casual conversation. Grammatical, sure. Natural, not really.

    So grammatically, if the caption is a truncated way of saying "Here are Marsha, John, and I/me," you can choose either. "I" would make a bit more syntactical sense, but "me" would probably be more natural. And that's the form I'd use in almost every casual situation: Marsha, John, and Me.

  5. It is never ever grammaticall correct with "John and me". It may be accepted colloquially, but it is taboo in script. "John and I" is in the subjective case, as a compound subject. Thus. The pronoun 'I' should ALWAYS be used. No excuses, unless one has no clue using correct grammar. The pronoun 'me' is in the objective case.....always used as the object of the verb or following a preposition, such as: "between him and me". I cannot believe people do not grasp this and ask this question! Duh!