The photo is of my parents and I at a backyard wedding.
Does that sentence sound wrong? If you’re not sure, how about this one:
My in-laws joined my wife, our children and I for a big holiday dinner.
They are both wrong. In these sentences, me should have been used for I.
Correct: The photo is of my parents and me at a backyard wedding.
Correct: My in-laws joined my wife, our children and me for a big holiday dinner.
Are you confused?
Don’t feel badly. Grammar confuses a lot of people, especially I/me. The use of the I or me pronoun when you are referring to yourself depends on whether the pronoun is the subject or the object in the sentence
Subject and Object
- A subject is the person or thing doing the action in the sentence.
- The object is the thing that is receiving the action.
Here are two correct examples:
Jason and I ran to the park.
Jason and you are the subjects in this sentence because both are doing the action (running). The park is the object. Therefore the pronoun for the subject in this sentence is I.
Jason ran into me.
Jason is the subject doing the action in the sentence, but now you are the object. Therefore the pronoun for the object is me.
ME is always the correct pronoun for the OBJECT in the sentence. You would not say Jason ran into I . It’s wrong, and hopefully it sounds wrong!
When there’s more of you
People often get confused about what pronoun to use when they’re talking about themselves and a few others. What if you were with a couple of friends, say, Rasheed and Nicole, when Jason ran into the three of you? The same rule about pronouns would apply because all three are objects in the sentence.
The correct sentence is: Jason ran into Rasheed, Nicole and me.
Here’s a trick:
This may help you determine whether to use I or me: Drop the rest of the names in the sentence to see how it sounds.
Example 1 (from the beginning of this post): Drop the parents from the sentence:
The photo is of I at a backyard wedding. Hopefully that sounds wrong. The photo is the subject, and the photo is of a group of people (including you) who are all objects in the sentence. Therefore the correct sentence is: The photo is of my parents and me at a backyard wedding.
Same with the 2nd example. Drop the wife and kids so it reads: My in-laws joined I for a big holiday dinner. Hopefully that also sounds wrong.
Here’s a test:
Fill in the blank with me or I. If you aren’t sure, drop the other name(s) associated with the pronoun in question from the sentence.
- The thank you gift is from Michael and ____.
- Michael and ____ want to thank you with this gift.
- Kay and Phil had dinner with Ian, Richard and _____.
- Ian, Richard and ____ had dinner with Kay and Phil.
- No one knows the trouble you put Dad and ____ through.
- You put Dad and ____ through a lot of trouble.
- Dad and ____ forgive you for the trouble you put us through.
I hope this helps you understand what is a common grammar mistake!
If you want to read further on this subject, Grammar Girl has a great post that explains I vs me in more depth.
Read Linda’s other posts on Grammar
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell her truth without shame.
2017 New Apple Book Awards Official Selection
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage