These two articles deal with the same topic in a slightly different way.
Problems with pronouns
English has several pronouns – words like “I”, “they”, “she”, “he”, “it”, “we”, “them”, “me”, “him”, “her”, “us” etc., which take the place of nouns (or to be technically correct, noun phrases) in a sentence. For example, instead of saying “Christopher went down town and Sally saw Christopher there” it is possible to say “He went down town and she saw him there” – provided that the reader/hearer would know from the context who is meant by “he”, “she” and “him”.
Which form of a pronoun is used will depend on its grammatical function or position in a sentence. The first six pronouns listed above are used in the so-called subject function or position, e.g. “He/she/they went to Durban.” The next four are used in other functions, e.g. “We saw him/her/them in Durban.” The pronoun “you” is good as both subject and object: “We saw you, and you saw us.”
English mother-tongue speakers will generally use the correct form when there is only a single pronoun involved, but as soon as there are two pronouns, or a pronoun and one or more nouns, confusion (and incorrect usage, at times) may set in.
Someone who would never dream of saying “She gave the book to I as a gift” might be heard saying “She gave the book to my wife and I as a gift” (probably because it’s been drummed into us that we should always say “My wife and I” and not “Me and my wife”). And while few English speakers are likely ever to say “Me went to the funfair”, many might (and often do!) say “Me and John went to the funfair” (or “John and me went …”).
If there is any doubt about which form to use in such “multiple-noun/pronoun” cases, simply take one of the (pro)nouns away, see what is left and decide whether that is the correct form or not. –ws–
Oh deary I!
We should always say “my mom and I”, “Tommy and I”, “Zanele and I”, and never “my mom and me”, “Tommy and me”, “Zanele and me” …
The phrase with “I” is correct only if it represents the so-called subject of the sentence, that is, if the other person and I are the doers of whatever the verb is expressing.
- My mom and I went to see my gran.
- Tommy and I have been writing movie reviews.
- Zanele and I ordered a pizza.
But when the other person and I are being “done to”, that is, if the phrase represents the so-called “object” of the sentence, it must be “me”:
- My dad asked my mom and me to collect a parcel.
- The teacher gave Tommy and me a book to review.
- Hotstuff Pizzas delivered the pizza to Zanele and me.
- My dad asked my mom and I to collect a parcel.
- The teacher gave Tommy and I a book to review.
- Hotstuff Pizzas delivered the pizza to Zanele and I.
If you’re one of those who are never quite sure whether it should be “me” or “I” in sentences like these, and grammatical terms like verb and subject and object confuse you, do this simple little test: omit the other person in the phrase and see whether it sounds right. Your test will show you that all the following are wrong, since you would never use “I” by itself in such cases:
- My dad asked
my mom andI to collect a parcel.
- The teacher gave
Tommy andI a book to review.
- Hotstuff Pizzas delivered the pizza to
Now put “me” in the place of every “I” and it’s all OK!
Conversely, of course, you would never use “me” by itself in the following cases:
My mom andme went to see my gran. Tommy andme have been writing movie reviews. Zanele andme ordered a pizza.
A sentence like “Our friends threw a party for Susan and I” reflects what is called hypercorrection. Having been told repeatedly by our mentors to say "Susan and I" and not “me and Susan” or "Susan and me" in some contexts, we sometimes over-correct and use “Susan and I” even when we shouldn’t! –ws–