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  ENGLISH GRAMMAR for ESL learners  


I vs ME

What is the difference and when do we use them?



I and ME are both pronouns. However, there are important differences between them.
'I' is a subject pronoun.
'ME' is an object pronoun.

  I (subject pronoun) 

The pronoun ‘I’ is used when it is the subject of a verb, alone or with other subject pronouns (he, she, we, you, they), or proper nouns.
  • I am going to the beach.
  • Alex and I are going to the beach.
  • He and I are going to the beach.
The pronoun ‘I’ and the proper noun Alex together form the subject of the sentence, so in this sentence we need to use the subject pronoun ‘I’.

  ME (object pronoun) 

The pronoun ‘me’ is used when it is the object of a verb, alone or with other object pronouns (him, her, us, you, them), or proper nouns.
  • Emma came with me.
  • Emma came with Alex and me.
  • Eva and Tony joined Alex and me at the beach.
The pronoun ‘me’ and the proper noun Alex together form the object of the verb ’joined’, so here we need to use the object pronoun ‘me’.

Which pronouns should you use?

What is confusing for some people is which form to use when there are two subjects or objects.

You and I (or John and I) is the equivalent of 'we'.
You and me (or John and me) is the equivalent of 'us'.

The easiest way to make sure you’ve chosen the right pronoun is to remove the additional noun or pronoun and see if the sentence reads properly:
  • The man asked Peter to help.
  • The man asked I to help.(incorrect)
  • The man asked (Peter and) I to help.(incorrect)
  • The man asked me to help.(correct)
  • The man asked Peter and me to help. (correct)
  • I am going shopping.
  • Melanie and I are going shopping.
  • Lisa is coming shopping with I. (incorrect)
  • Lisa is coming shopping with Melanie and I.(incorrect)
  • Lisa is coming shopping with Melanie and me. (correct)
More examples:
  • John and I are going to the cinema = We are going to the cinema.
  • Eva and Tom are coming with John and I. (incorrect)
  • Eva and Tom are coming with John and me. (correct)
  • The dog followed Melanie and me to Lisa's house.
  • Tom and I prepared the report.
  • The boss thanked us.
  • The boss thanked Tom and me.

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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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