Okay, quick quiz time. Which of these sentences is correct?
A) Blake joined Niejah and myself at the social hour.
B) Blake joined Niejah and me at the social hour.
C) Blake joined Niejah and I at the social hour.
You probably noticed the different pronouns: myself, me, and I. Choosing among these pronouns can cause a grammatical headache, so let’s review some tricks for making the right choice and then take a look at the correct answer.
How do I choose between me and I?
Use I as the subject of a sentence or a clause.
I exchanged pleasantries with a former client.
Use me as an object.
President Jones promoted me. (direct object—answering whom)
My husband gave me a high five. (indirect object—answering to whom)
My manager wrote a recommendation for me. (object for the preposition for)
Writers rarely have trouble choosing the right pronoun in sentences like the ones above. If you switched I for me in the first sentence and me for I in the other sentences, the errors would be obvious. However, applying the same trick to sentences with compound subjects or objects tends to cause more confusion.
Don't Say: The client and me met at the coffee house.
Do Say: The client and I met at the coffee house.
Don't Say: Will the director talk with Sarah and I?
Do Say: Will the director talk with Sarah and me?
To find the correct pronoun for similar sentences, omit the rest of the compound: Read the sentences without “the client and” and “Sarah and.” Can you hear the correct pronoun?
How can I choose between me and myself?
Myself has two limited uses:
- To direct the action expressed by the verb back to the doer of the action
I drive myself crazy sometimes.
- To intensify or highlight the noun or pronoun it refers to
I myself am responsible for the decision.
If you’re having trouble choosing between myself and me, remember that myself never works in sentences with subjects other than I.
Don't Say: Return your feedback to myself.
Do Say: Return your feedback to me.
Now that you’ve reviewed pronoun usage and discovered some editing tricks, revisit the quiz question at the top of this eTip. Which sentence is correct?
The correct answer is B.
Choice B uses me as the direct object.
Choice A incorrectly includes myself, which must refer back to an I subject.
Choice C incorrectly uses I, which must function as a subject, not an object. (Omit “Niejah and” from choice C, and you’ll realize I is incorrect.)