🏁 Use I when you’re doing or saying something, me when someone is giving or doing something to you, and myself when you are giving or doing something to yourself, for example:
I washed the dishes.
Cheryl gave me a hand.
I dried them myself.
🔆 If this is already clear to you, go to Skill 36.
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🛠Need more? Read on.
I is easy to use and it’s very unusual to ever get it wrong (except when an infant), although it is often written as a small letter when it should always be a large one (or upper case, never lower case), which is the very first skill on this site for that reason.
When we use me we use it to show that someone or something else is affecting me in some way, e.g.
She gave the keys to me.
The falling branch nearly hit me.
They gave me a pay rise.
Most people make a mistake with this when they are including themselves in a group of two or more people and aren’t sure how to say it, e.g.
Cheryl and me went to the party.
Cheryl and me went to the party is actually wrong (although to many people it sounds fine) because Cheryl and me are both the subjects of the sentences- we are both doing the action of going to the party, so we are both subjects and we have to be written as such, i.e. Cheryl and I. Some people will think Cheryl and I sounds wrong because it’s like the speaker is trying to sound posh and overdoing it a bit. But if you take Cheryl out of the sentence, you will get I went to the party, which is definitely right, whereas if you write this as Me went to the party it’s definitely wrong. Me can never be the subject of the sentence, because of the kind of word it is. Remember that the I in a group of more than one subjects will always be second, e.g.
Cheryl and I went to the party
I and Cheryl went to the party.
This rule applies to formal English when you’re writing to pass an exam. Of course, many people accept that in informal English Cheryl and me sounds okay here, so you just need to know the difference here between what sounds right and what’s actually right.
However, there is a case where using Cheryl and me would be right in formal English too, and that’s when we want to emphasise that both me and Cheryl had something done to us, e.g.
She gave the keys to Cheryl and me.
The falling branch nearly hit Cheryl and me.
They gave Cheryl and me a pay rise.
Myself is the trickiest one and many people get it wrong, e.g. if they write:
You can send the reply to Donna or myself.
This should say Donna or me, because you’re not the one sending the reply, so it can’t be a word which means that you’re doing something (sending a reply) to yourself.
You can also add myself in a sentence to add emphasis to something you want to do, e.g.
I will do that myself.
I will go by myself as it will be cheaper.
I want to win the prize myself, not share it!
As you can see, you can only use myself if you’ve also used I in the same sentence.
🚦Time for more?
These are some of the most common mistakes to make, so by understanding which one you should use and when, you will improve your accuracy a lot- and be able to help others with this one too!
Here’s a last quiz to check your understanding:
🎓 I is a subject pronoun and will usually start a sentence by doing something, using a verb. Me is an object pronoun that is used after a verb, usually when another person or thing is doing something to you (making you the object of the sentence, which we write as me). Myself is a reflexive pronoun and so can only be used if there’s someone (the I) to refer itself back to.