Communication Skills

JS Tip 100: From the Writing Workshops: “I” and “Me,” Part II

Last week, we explored Sarah Enders’ question: “Since when is it okay to start a sentence with ‘Me and so-and-so’?”

Our response was that it’s never appropriate to start a sentence with “Me and so-and-so.” “Me” is always an object, and “I” is always a subject. (“Subjective case” and “objective case,” but don’t worry about that.)

We also promised to explore more about objects this week.

We asked which you thought was correct:

She gave the instructions to Sarah and I.

or

She gave the instructions to Sarah and me.

Play the substitution-game we suggested last week: Drop the other person from the sentence:

She gave the instructions to I. (This doesn’t work at all. It sounds goofy.)

or

She gave the instructions to me. (Yes. This works.)

Pop the other person back in the sentence:

She gave the instructions to Sarah and me.

Correct. Beautiful. Good show.

It also fits with last week’s definitions: An object in a sentence (not all sentences have objects) is who or what the subject influences, affects, or acts upon. It usually comes later in the sentence.

There’s a whole ‘nother discussion about direct objects and indirect objects, but . . . that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

The subject of the sentence is who or what the sentence is about. It usually comes toward the beginning of the sentence.

What are your questions? Ask us. We love this stuff.

These discussions have prompted questions about “reflexive” pronouns: myself, ourselves, themselves. We’ll explore these next week.