I vs. Me – How To Distinguish These Words

23.05.24 Commonly confused words Time to read: 5min

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When writing an academic essay, you might come across words that are often mixed up, such as “I” and “me.” They are called commonly confused words. Despite their similar meanings, their usage is distinctly different. Incorrect usage can significantly affect your writing’s quality and value, especially in academic writing, where clarity and precision are critical to conveying your ideas effectively.

Definition of “I” vs. “Me”

The difference between “I” and “me” lies in their grammatical roles in a sentence. While both terms are used as pronouns, “I” is a subject pronoun that functions as a noun, and “me” is an object pronoun.

  • I” is used as the subject of a verb, meaning the person performing the action of the verb.
  • Me” is used as the object of a verb or preposition, meaning the person receiving the action of the verb or the object of the preposition.

I

… is a subject pronoun that functions as a pronoun, and performs the action of a verb in a sentence.

Me

… is an object pronoun that functions as a pronoun, and receives the action of a verb or preposition in a sentence.

A simple way to choose between “I” and “me” is to remove the other subjects from the sentence and see if it still makes sense. When you have to decide between:

  • “My friend and I went to the movie” and
  • “My friend and me went to the movie,”

…take out “My friend and”. You wouldn’t say “Me went to the movie,” so the correct choice is “I.”

Using the word “I”

The word “I” is used as a subject pronoun that performs the action of a verb. How it is applied in a sentence will be explained below.

“I” as a pronoun

In the following section, the grammatical function of the word “I” will be clearly illustrated, along with a few examples of how it’s commonly used in a sentence.

Examples

  • I successfully solved the puzzle.
  • I am currently learning to play the piano.
  • I will call you tomorrow afternoon.

Tip for using “I” correctly

Synonyms avoid repetition and redundancy and improve your language overall. While there are no direct synonyms for “I” that change its fundamental meaning as a first-person singular pronoun, there are possibilities to rephrase sentences to avoid directly using it, depending on the context. However, these rephrasings typically change the focus or style of the sentence rather than provide a synonym.

Synonyms Examples
Own name (formal or self-referential) I am going to the store.
Melissa is going to the store.
Passive voice (subject change) I completed the project.
The project was completed.

Using the word “me”

In the next section, the function of the object pronoun “me” will be clearly explained, followed by some examples to demonstrate its use.

“Me” as a pronoun

The word “me” has a single purpose as a pronoun and receives the action of a verb or preposition in a sentence.

Examples

  • Can you help me with this problem?
  • The gift was from me.
  • They invited me to the party.

Tips for using “me”

Including synonyms can improve writing, prevent redundancy, and add nuance. There are no direct synonyms for “me,” but there are ways to rephrase sentences to avoid using it directly. However, these rephrasings often change the focus or style of the sentence, instead of providing a synonym.

Synonyms Examples
Myself (reconstruct sentence; emphasis) The teacher handed me the book.
The teacher handed out books to everyone, including myself.

Test yourself!

Practice sheet

To improve your ability to differentiate between “I” and “me,” fill in the blanks in the given sentences. The correct answers can be found on the second tab.

  1. __ made breakfast for everyone this morning.
  2. Can you send __ the details by email?
  3. __ forgot to bring my notebook; can you please lend __ yours?
  4. They asked __ to join the committee, and __ accepted.
  5. __ think it’s time for __ to start a new hobby.
  6. Please remind __ to call them back.
  7. __ was surprised when they chose __ for the award.
  8. Can __ borrow a pen from you?
  9. Tell __ if __ can help in any way.
  10. __ plan to write a book, and __ hope you’ll read it.
  1. I made breakfast for everyone this morning.
  2. Can you send me the details by email?
  3. I forgot to bring my notebook, can you please lend me yours?
  4. They asked me to join the committee, and I accepted.
  5. I think it’s time for me to start a new hobby.
  6. Please remind me to call them back.
  7. I was surprised when they chose me for the award.
  8. Can I borrow a pen from you?
  9. Tell me if I can help in any way.
  10. I plan to write a book, and I hope you’ll read it.
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FAQs

Use “I” as the subject pronoun: “I” is used when the pronoun is the subject of the sentence, meaning it’s performing the action of the verb.

  • Example: I am going to the store.

 

Use “me” as the object pronoun: “Me” is used when the pronoun is the object of the sentence, meaning it’s receiving the action of the verb, or it’s used after a preposition.

  • Example: “She gave me the book” or “This is for me.”

“I” is a subject pronoun, performing the action. “Me” is an object pronoun, receiving the action, or is used after a preposition.

Whether you say “John and I” or “John and me” depends on the role the phrase plays in the sentence:

Use “John and I” when the phrase is the subject of the sentence (the one doing the action).

Example: John and I went to the store.

Use “John and me” when the phrase is the object of the sentence (the one receiving the action) or after a preposition.

Example: The teacher gave John and me extra homework.

A simple test to determine which to use is to remove “John and” from the sentence and see if “I” or “me” make sense on their own.

cheque your final paper for plagiarism
Not properly attributing credit to original sources often causes deductions in marks. Use our online plagiarism chequeer to reduce the risk of such penalties and correct any potential plagiarized passages. It takes only 10 minutes to submit your paper confidently.