31 August, 2018
Welcome to Ask a Teacher – a new program where readers ask questions and teachers answer them.
Some of the first words English students learn are "I" and "me." But even native English speakers do not always know which one to use in a sentence. In today's Ask a Teacher, Fernanda from Brazil gets right to the heart of the problem. Here is her question.
Sometimes I don't know when to use "I" or "me." For example, I want to tell someone that I made some food with a friend. How can I say it: "Monica and I made the food?" or "Monica and me made the food"? -Fernanda, Brazil
I can tell that you know to use the word "I" when you are the only subject of the sentence. You correctly wrote "I want..." for example. In this case, "I" is the subject and "want" is the verb.
But you are asking about a situation involving two people: you and your friend.
Let's review what you already know to find the answer.
"I" is a subject pronoun. It refers to the person performing the action of a verb. Use "I" for the subject of the sentence.
"Me" is an object pronoun. It refers to the person receiving the action of a verb. Use "me" for the object of the sentence.
In your sentence about cooking, are you and your friend the subject or the object of the verb "made"? In other words, are you the ones making the food – or is the food making you?
You are making the food, of course. So, the answer to your question is: "Monica and I made the food." In this sentence, the whole subject is "Monica and I."
Let's look at a few more sentences with "I" as part of the subject:
In September, Monica and I are starting classes.
When can Monica and I visit the new museum?
And sentences with "me" as part of the object:
What did you bring back for Monica and me?
David is giving Monica and me a ride to the airport.
How to decide
If you're still not sure whether to choose "me" or "I," try keeping just the pronoun. Listen:
What did you bring back for
Monica and I?
You would not ask, "What did you bring back for I?" The correct way to form the question is: "What did you bring back for me?" Then you can just add the other person back to the sentence: "What did you bring back for Monica and me?"
And that's Ask a Teacher.
I'm Alice Bryant.