Jan 28, 2013

Grammar Hammer: It’s Just Me, Myself, and I

MMandIThe proper usage of me, myself, and I ranks pretty high in my list of grammar pet peeves. Maybe it’s all those quizzes I was subjected to in Mr. Mullens’ 6th grade English class, but when it comes to using me, myself, or I, here are a few quick tips to help you remember which is which.

I – one of the big guns in the personal pronoun world – is used as the subject. Only use “I” when you are the one taking action in the sentence. “I shoveled the driveway.” Simple, right? Let’s add someone else to the sentence. Which would you use?

• “Tony and me shoveled the driveway in record time.”
• “Tony and myself shoveled the driveway in record time.”
• “Tony and I shoveled the driveway in record time.”

Correct answer – “Tony and I shoveled the driveway in record time.”

Quick tip – if you’re not sure whether or not to use “I,” remove the other person from the sentence and see if it makes sense. I’m pretty sure I’d get some strange looks if I said, “Me shoveled the driveway in record time,” or “Myself shoveled the driveway in record time.”

Me – the object. Use “me” when the action is being done to, or for, you. Which would you use?

• “If you have any additional questions about the project, call Sarah or me.”
• “If you have any additional questions about the project, call Sarah or myself.”
• “If you have any additional questions about the project, call Sarah or I.”

Correct answer – “If you have any additional questions about the project, call Sarah or me.” I’m asking someone else to do the action – call. Who are they calling? Me.

Myself – one of the –self pronouns (reflexive or intensive, depending on their function).

“Myself” shouldn’t be used unless there’s an “I” previously in the same sentence. Think of it this way, only you can do something to yourself.

RIGHT: “I wanted to shovel the driveway myself.”

WRONG: “Shoveling the driveway is good for the neighborhood and myself.” (OK, that’s lame, I don’t know anyone who really ENJOYS shoveling the driveway or thinks it’s GOOD for them, but I think you get my point.)

As for me, myself, and I, we’re doing just fine, thanks, and will probably be shoveling my driveway this weekend.

Have a grammar rule you’d like me to explore? Drop me a line at catherine.spicer@prnewswire.com.

Author Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire.

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