It's NOT a Matter of Preference!

Let me set the record straight.  Grammar has never been a simple matter of preference.  When you are speaking or writing, you are indirectly informing your audience of your level of intelligence as well as your particular grasp of the English language.  Whether your audience is a prospective employer, a group of your peers, or an entire auditorium filled with strangers - they will subconsciously be summing you up based upon how you speak or write.


Your ability to speak or write correctly in English is always a useful life skill (assuming that your audience and interactions are with other folks who also speak English).  You could have all of the qualifications necessary for a particular job, but if your curriculum vitae and cover letter is not following basic grammar rules, it's very possible that you could be left out of the running by an HR manager who is a stickler for putting communications skills above anything else.

An Easy Way to Know When to Use "I" vs. "Me"

While the English language is one of the most difficult languages, knowing a few tricks and tips will take you far.  I would like to show you an easy way to know when you should use "I" vs. "me" in casual conversation or formal writing.

The way a sentence sounds may not be the best way to discern if proper grammar is being used.  Instead, as with most variables of the English language, you will need to apply a template over top of what you are writing or speaking to see which option truly fits.

Let's test your skills before we move forward.  Which one do you believe is grammatically correct? 

  1. It was a fun trip for Jessie and I.
  2. It was a fun trip for Jessie and me.

Many folks would believe that the first option is correct.  When we are young, we are taught to use "I" instead of "me" when referring to ourselves.  If a young child blurts out, "me want some ice cream," we are quick to correct them to instead say, "I want some ice cream."  While this of course is grammatically correct, it trains us to always replace "me" with "I" - even when we shouldn't be doing so.

The easy way to figure this out is to simply leave out the other person in the sentence (sorry, Jessie).  "It was a fun trip for I" is obviously not correct.  "It was a fun trip for me" is correct.  Therefore, we now know that the second option is grammatically correct: It was a fun trip for Jessie and me.

Another Example

Let's see how well you do now that you know about the "template" that you can use to help you to figure out when using "I" is appropriate vs. using "me" (no peeking at the answer before you think about it first!).

  1. For our party, I will share a recording of a song with my sister and I singing.
  2. For our party, I will share a recording of a song with my sister and me singing.

If you simply remove "my sister and," you will realize that the only sentence that would make sense would be the second option.  That sentence is grammatically correct.

Hopefully, this little tip will help you the next time you are wondering whether to use "I" vs. "me" in a sentence.  Who knows?  Maybe this will even help you to land that job by getting you past that HR manager who is impressed by your grasp of the English language!

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)
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