'John and I' or 'John and Me'?


In casual conversation, most people I know don’t worry too much about sounding proper. They don’t bother with “whom.” They say, “There’s a lot of people here” instead of “There are a lot of people here.” They opt for forms like “Joe is taller than me” instead of “Joe is taller than I.”

But there’s one situation in which it seems everyone is bent on sounding as proper as possible. Consider the sentence “I’m so happy you were able to spend time with John and I.” Choosing “I” over “me” in sentences like this seems to be the preferred form of practically every English speaker with even the slightest interest in sounding educated.

Unfortunately, in this case, trying to sound like you have good grammar makes things worse because the grammatically correct form is “with John and me,” not “with John and I.”

I have a theory about why this hypercorrection is so common. When kids say stuff like “Katie and me are going outside” or “Kevin and me are playing video games,” many parents are swift to correct them. Kids assume that “I” is more proper than “me.”

But that’s not always the case. If you really want to sound like you know your stuff, you need to understand the difference between subject pronouns and object pronouns.

I, you, he, she, it, we and they are subject pronouns. They perform the “action” of the verb. I walk fast. You work hard. He is nice.

But when they function as objects, most of these personal pronouns take different forms. Me, you, him, her, it, us and them are object pronouns. “You” and “it” are the oddballs, functioning as subjects and objects. Here's how to use them.

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