Pronouns take the place of a noun. When we write our blogs we use pronouns all of the time, but do we use them correctly?
At seven years old I said, “Me and Mike want ice cream.”
And my grandmother said (just like she did every time I made a grammatical error), “Mike and I.”
I was taught that saying “Mike and I” was always correct while “Mike and me” was not. This is not always the case however.
First person singular pronouns come in two forms: “I” and “me”. These two forms are used when speaking about yourself in first person rather than third (“I went to the store” instead of “Patty went to the store”). These pronouns, while always speaking about you, are not the same.
“I” is used as the subject of the sentence meaning that this pronoun is doing the action. “I went to the store.”
“Me” is the object of the sentence meaning that the pronoun is affected by the action of the sentence rather than doing the action. “She wants me to wash the dishes.”
Let’s take a look at first person singular pronouns and how to use them.
When using the pronoun “I” or “Me” when speaking in terms of two people, like the first example above, you have to look at the context of the sentence to determine which pronoun to use. You have to figure out if the pronoun is the subject or the object. To figure out which pronoun is correct in the following sentence, use only the first person pronoun with the rest of the sentence to see if it is correct.
“Mike and me want ice cream.”
The first person pronoun in this sentence is “me”, but when cutting off the first part of the sentence to just leave the pronoun and the verb phrase “want ice cream”, it is incorrect.
“Me want ice cream.”
The example above needs to be changed to “Mike and I want ice cream.” When you use only the personal pronoun “I”, the sentence makes sense. “I” is the subject of the sentence. Let’s look at another example.
“Mom told Mike and I to go to bed.”
Just like in the previous example where we dropped the other person to create the sentence with the personal pronoun we do the same here. Does the sentence make sense like this?
“Mom told I to go to bed.”
No. This doesn’t make sense, but if you change “I” to “me” it does. “Me” is the object of the sentence because the action is being done to the pronoun.
“Mom told me to go to bed.”
“Mom told Mike and me to go to bed.”