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  1. #1
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    when to use I versus me

    I often get into heated agruments with a friend over proper English. It doesn't matter how I explain it to her or what English professional I ask, she never believes me. Yesterday, we were arguing over whether to use I or me in a sentence she wrote. The sentence is as follows: "Brandon just wrote to Rachael and I." I explained to her that it should have said "Brandon just wrote to Rachael and me." If you removed Rachael from the sentence, you would want to say "Brandon just wrote to me." not "I". She then came back at me saying that you never say so and so and me. You always say I. I tried to explain to her that in certain instances you say I and in others you say me. I was having a difficult time explaining why you use I at times and why you use me at other times. If you could please help clarify which was the proper way to say that Brandon wrote to two people and why, I would really appreciate it! Thank you!

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    Re: when to use I versus me

    I'm quoting from University College London website. Feel free to tell your friend to take a look at it [ Pronouns @ The Internet Grammar of English ]so that you might win this argument :

    The first set of forms (I, you, he...) exemplifies the SUBJECTIVE CASE, and the second set (me, you, him...) exemplifies the OBJECTIVE CASE. The distinction between the two cases relates to how they can be used in sentences. For instance, in our first example above, we say that he can replace John John got a new job ~He got a new job But he cannot replace John in I gave John a new job. Here, we have to use the objective form him: I gave him a new job.



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    Re: when to use I versus me

    Thanks for your help! I copied your message and sent it over to her! We'll see what she has to say back!!

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    Re: when to use I versus me

    You're welcome. Keep us informed

  5. #5
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    Re: when to use I versus me

    In another thread of yours, I made the suggestion that your friend was "hypercorrecting". This confirms it.

    As I said in that thread, she's been taught that "Rachael and me booked a flight" is wrong -- and so it is. But from that she's reasoned that "Rachael and me" is always wrong, which is a process called hypercorrection.

    This is actually a very widespread misconception, and one of the problems is that the more it proliferates, the harder it will be to stop people doing it. Eventually it might even become standard English -- but it isn't yet.

    Phrases like "between you and I" are becoming increasingly common on the net. It's quite mystifying because, as you say, it's not that hard to decide which is correct. Your method -- remove "Rachael and" and see which makes more sense -- is the easiest and simplest method, and it guarantees 100% correct results every time. (Well, nearly; there are some hidden dangers but they're few and far between.)

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    Re: when to use I versus me

    This was her response back....
    Some people seem to think that saying "me" is not as formal or polite as saying I.

    This is EXACTLY what I was taught and what was ALWAYS emphasized. Saying “So and so and me” was seriously like the biggest communication error you could make. And never EVER was I taught to just take out the other person’s name to see if it makes more sense to write “me” in there – that is just crazy. Refer to the email I sent you yesterday about how that doesn’t work in a lot of instances so how could that possibly be the rule? And especially for a language that is as complicated as ours, what kind of generic rule is that?!

    I also think this is interesting: Phrases like "between you and I" are becoming increasingly common

    Is he saying this is wrong?? Based on your subject/object argument, I don’t understand why that WOULD be wrong … and I would definitely say that before I’d say “Between you and me” …


    I swear I can't win!!

  7. #7
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    Re: when to use I versus me

    I'm afraid rewboss was 100% accurate in guessing the reason behind this fallacy. It reveals the poor educational approaches that try to instruct the pupils what to do without explaining the rationale behind it. It must be similar attitudes to the old prescriptive approaches of "don't split the infinitive", rendering poor Capn Kirk... ungrammatical (To boldly go where no...linguist has gone before...)

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    Re: when to use I versus me

    Dear English Arguer's friend,

    If your teachers really did tell you that, then they should be taken out and shot at dawn. Not one of the authorities on modern English grammar has ever said that you must never say "X and me".

    As for "between you and me/I", the word "between" is a preposition, and in English, prepositions take the objective pronoun.

    If you search Google for "between you and me" (including the quotes), you get well over a million pages back. If you search for "between you and I" (again including the quotes), you'll get about 200,000 results, and (on the front page at least) most of those are for pages telling you why it is wrong to say "between you and I".

    It is true that the phrase "between you and I" occurs in Shakespeare, but so do phrases like "the lady doth protest too much, methinks", and English has moved on a bit since the 17th century.

    This is how modern English works, whatever you may have been taught in the past. Yes, sometimes even the professionals get it wrong (nobody's perfect), but by and large, books, newspapers, magazines and other publications do follow this rule quite religiously. Keep an eye out for that.

    But don't take my word for it. See what the BBC has to say on the matter -- and the BBC are always extremely careful about their English.

    English Arguer, I would be interested to see the examples your friend says disprove the rule.

  9. #9
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Re: when to use I versus me

    Reminds me of a joke I heard years ago....

    St. Peter heard a knock at the Pearly Gates and poked his head out. "Who wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?" he asked.
    "It is I," a voice replied.
    "Aw, go to Hell," St. Peter snarled. "We have too many pretentious English teachers up here already."

  10. #10
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    Re: when to use I versus me

    Quote Originally Posted by English Arguer View Post
    This was her response back....
    Some people seem to think that saying "me" is not as formal or polite as saying I.

    This is EXACTLY what I was taught and what was ALWAYS emphasized. Saying “So and so and me” was seriously like the biggest communication error you could make. And never EVER was I taught to just take out the other person’s name to see if it makes more sense to write “me” in there – that is just crazy. Refer to the email I sent you yesterday about how that doesn’t work in a lot of instances so how could that possibly be the rule? And especially for a language that is as complicated as ours, what kind of generic rule is that?!

    I also think this is interesting: Phrases like "between you and I" are becoming increasingly common

    Is he saying this is wrong?? Based on your subject/object argument, I don’t understand why that WOULD be wrong … and I would definitely say that before I’d say “Between you and me” …


    I swear I can't win!!
    You have won. Your friend is completely wrong and probably already knows that. Why bother?

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