Which is it: 'It is I' or 'It is me'? | Bangkok Post: learning

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Which is it: 'It is I' or 'It is me'?

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The grammar police caught US President Barack Obama improperly using the two English pronouns "I" and "me" in public speeches. Since his election, the president has been bluntly criticised by grammarian bloggers for using "I" instead of "me" in phrases like "a very personal decision for Michelle and I" , "the main disagreement between John and I" and "graciously invited Michelle and I". 

If that nation's leader is struggling with this particular grammar rule, imagine the confusion by non-native English speakers!

"I" is a first person singular subject pronoun, which means that it refers to the person performing the action of a verb.


I want to go home.

This is not what I expected.

"Me" is an object pronoun, which means that it refers to the person that the action of a verb is being done to, or to which a preposition refers.


The teacher told me to stay after class.

He gave me 20 baht.

While it seems simple enough, the common mistake of confusing these pronouns occurs when creating a compound subject or object like "you and I" or "Pornthip and me".

Quick tip:

To avoid confusing the personal pronouns "I" and "me", try deleting the other person from the equation and see what's left.

For example:

You should join Tui and I for dinner.

Now take away Tui. You're left with, "You should join I for dinner". That sounds strange, so you know that "me", not "I", is the correct choice for this sentence.

Quiz: Which is correct?

Daeng and I went to see a movie.

He told Kaew and me to get ready.

If Ton and I get married, we'll have two children.

Nota bene: Always remember that it is considered more polite to put yourself last: "Tik and me"(or "Tick and I"), never "me and Tik" (or "I and Tik").

President Obama, grammarians and I wish you the best of luck!

Heather Vlach is an English-language specialist and Intensive Studies educator at International School Bangkok in Nonthaburi. She can be reached at heatherv@isb.ac.th .

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