If there is one thing that brings out the quintessential, gray-haired, orthopedic-shoed, stern grandmother in me, it’s when I hear or see something like:
“Me and Billy are going to the creek!”
“My friends and me went downtown for the Coldplay concert.”
“Andrew let Pete and I play with his crystal tarantula collection. He’s awesome!”
*palm slap to forehead* I just want to stomp my foot in frustration, shake my finger, and correct: “Billy and I are going to the creek. It’s not ‘me and Billy.’”
However, I’m too polite to actually point my finger (that’s rude, don’t do it), I’m way too young for gray hair (the few you think you see on my head are not real), and I refuse to wear orthopedic shoes until they make ones that look stunning on my feet. Instead, let me teach you an easy way to know when to use “I” and when to use “me.” Please note that it isn’t always proper to insert “I,” which many people do when they aren’t sure which word to use.
Test your sentences. Whether you are writing or speaking, run the sentence through your mind taking out the extraneous people and leaving only yourself– hear how the sentence sounds. Let’s use our earlier examples:
Me is going to the creek.
Me went downtown for the Coldplay concert.
Andrew let I play with his crystal tarantula collection. He’s awesome.
Uh-oh. It’s pretty clear to see which pronoun you should be using, right? But, for clarity sake, let’s write these out correctly.
Billy and I are going to the creek.
My friends and I went downtown for the Coldplay concert,
Andrew let Pete and me play with his crystal tarantula collection. He’s awesome.
I know the third example doesn’t seem right, but it is. Here are some other examples using “me”:
I love that picture of Ana and me.
Will you come to the store with Mike and me?
Lucille took Ana and me to the musical.
Robert will call for you and me when he’s ready.
“I” doesn’t always fit. Also notice that you always come last. Whether you list out two people or multiple people, think of others first and put yourself at the end. It’s polite and proper.
Mike drove Ana, Nikki, Melinda, Aunt Barb, my dog Max, and me to the ice cream shop.
Seek to be better. Write properly and speak properly. Test your sentences.