Friday, November 14, 2008

What's happening to our language? I, me, myself, why so much confusion?

It is so common to hear someone say, "They sent it to my friend and I." When it really should be, "They sent it to my friend and me." The interesting thing is that you only hear so-called educated people making this mistake. Another error is the dreaded, "Myself and John are going to take care of it."Help! I'm all for the language growing, evolving and changing, but this doesn't seem like an improvement.

So ask yourself, of the following three sentences which sounds better and which would you say: (1)They invited my friends and I to the reception. (2)They invited my friends and me to the reception. (3)They invited my friends and myself to the reception. ?If you are like 50% or more of native speakers today, you might have chosen the first sentence, but the second one is the only correct sentence.

Here is how you can always be sure you are saying it correctly: When you have a compound object, such as; "my friends and me" or "my friends and I" you simple take off the first part and just leave the "I" or the "me" and see if the sentence still sounds correct.For example: They invited I. They invited me.

Now it obviously sounds absurd to use the object pronoun "I" after the verb.Well there you have it. The rule is that you use "I" before the verb and "me" after the verb and it doesn't matter if it is compound (my friends and I) or (my friends and me).So the following sentences are correct: My partners and I made a donation. The donation was made by my partners and me. If you eliminate the words "my partners" you see it sounds good when you say "I made a donation." and "The donation was made by me."Likewise the same applies to he/him, she/her, they/them and we/us. The pronouns "it" and "you" don't change.

Try it out and see how your English has just improved a little.Why do we make this mistake? It stems from our childhood. When we were little we tended to say "Me and Johnny are going out to play." and our mothers or teachers would correct us and say "Johnny and I." So we had it drilled into us that it is always better to say "and I." Unfortunately it worked.

Now you know the truth. You should say "and I" before the verb or preposition and "and me" after the verb or preposition.A few more examples are: It was sent to Alex and me. They called Susan and me. Alex and I will build it. Susan and I lent the money to them. All of these sentences are correct.I hope that was helpful.

You may ask, "Does it really matter?" Yes, especially if your boss or director knows this rule and hears you making this common mistake. It could affect his opinion of you and your education level.


Alan said...

Good info ... keep it up.

Edwin said...

Hello Mark, thankyou for the information, I'll be visiting your blogg frecuently, regars Edwin Arango said...

I like the rules but it would be nice if you can make some videos to show the example as well. Thanks, and I hope you update this blog frequently.

Maria Angela said...

Hello Mark. It seems with the practice and hearing frequently people who speaks english in the office I learned to use "I" and "me" correctly but I´ve just realized I didn´t know the rule... thanks for teaching! (¿Lo dije bien??)

Gustavo Adolfo said...

Hello Mark,I don`t understand all your document,for my level in these language, but step by step I´ll do.

mt man cje said...

hey mark great job you should try some comidy like a pie in the face of slap stick ill talk to you soon

Are you suppose to say Supposably or Supposedly? Hey wait! isn't it "supposed to"?

ASL Basic Vocabulary

How to Become Fluent in ASL

Thanks for your donation