I hate to admit it, but I’m sure I’m not alone. Sometimes, I judge people. Oftentimes, it is because of their grammar. Or lack thereof.
Here’s a great example (and my biggest pet peeve):
Jack: “Why don’t you come to the movies with Jane and I?”
Me: [Cringing inside.]
Of course, what Jack meant was, “Why don’t you come to the movies with Jane and me?” I’ve often wondered why so many people have picked up this nasty grammatical misstep. I blame it on our formative years, a time when teachers and parents alike tried to beat the word “me” out of our collective vocabularies. So, this post is in honor of poor, overlooked, underused, “me.”
RULE: If you have trouble remembering when to use the word “me” vs. the word “I,” break the sentence up in your mind before you say it out loud.*
Jack: “Why don’t you come to the movies with Jane?” and “Why don’t you come to the movies with me?”
When you break it up, the answer is usually apparent. Of course you can’t say, “Why don’t you come to the movies with I?” (Note that I’m hoping the preceding sentence sounds silly in an obvious enough way that no further explanation is necessary.)
To avoid public ridicule (and to preserve what’s left of the English language, which sadly disintegrates with each text/facebook/instant message we send) give “me” a chance.
*I could have gotten into the grammatical background behind this problem, but you’ll just forget it anyway (I do). So, stick with the rule. For more rules and quick and dirty tips, visit the Grammar Girl.