How to Correctly Use Me, Myself and I
To use the first-person pronouns “me,” “myself” and “I” correctly, you must understand their case and purpose. The objective case, “me,” will function as a direct object, indirect object or object of the preposition, while the subjective form “I” will function as the subject. “Myself” functions as a reflexive or intensive pronoun.
Objective Case Pronoun "Me"
In a typical sentence pattern -- subject followed by verb then predicate -- use “me” after the main verb. For example,
“James showed Tara and me” reflects “me” as the direct object. “The gift arrived for him and me” demonstrates “me” functioning as the object of the preposition “for.”
If a compound -- more than one -- object is present, drop the other object and read the sentence for clarity, ensuring “me” is the correct selection.
Subjective Case Pronoun "I"
The pronoun “I” is traditionally before the main verb. “I ran to the store” and “Sarah and I drove all night,” for example. To compare -- “She is taller than I,” for instance -- use the subjective pronoun. When functioning as a predicative nominative -- a noun or pronoun renaming the sentence’s subject -- use “I.” For example,
“The girl you spoke with is I.” “I” and “the girl you spoke with” are the same person, so “I” is used.
Reflexive and Intensive Pronoun "Myself"
Reflexive pronouns end in -self or -selves and occur when renaming the subject of the sentence. For example,
“I cut myself while shaving” and “I cooked for myself.” Intensive pronouns emphasize a noun.
“I myself enjoy ice cream” and “I enjoy ice cream myself.”
- Purdue OWL: Pronoun Case
- Understanding English Grammar, Seventh Edition; Martha Kolln and Robert Funk
- Writers Express: A Handbook for Young Writers, Thinkers, and Learners; Dave Kemper et al.
Based in West Palm Beach, Fla., Emily Layfield has been writing and editing education-related work since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in English and English/ language arts education and a Master of Arts in secondary English education from Auburn University.