The misuse of the words «me,» «myself,» and «I.»
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Many of us slept or daydreamed through our high school English classes. How could we not? It seems like it was always after lunch, the room was too hot, the teacher was too boring. After all, we never actually need to know this stuff, do we? Wrong! Good grammar is essential to making a good impression, whether you’re expressing yourself verbally or in writing. Many companies require a writing sample as part of the interview process, and anyone who wants to make money as a writer must learn how to use English correctly. In many cases, you only have one chance to make a good impression, so wow them with good grammar!
This article will focus on a common grammar mistake: the misuse of the words «me,» «myself,» and «I.» Somewhere along the way, many people got the impression that we shouldn’t use the word «me. As a result, I often receive emails from my coworkers that say things like, «Please give your requests to Suzie or I…» or «Please give your time sheets to Bob or myself.» Both are incorrect, and I’ll show you an easy way to know how to construct such sentences correctly.
The word «I» is only used when you are speaking of yourself as the subject of the sentence. In other words, you are the one taking action. «I threw the ball.» Where people tend to get confused is when you add another person to the mix. The easiest way to figure out which pronoun to use for yourself is to just take the other person out of the sentence.
Which of these is correct? Remove the other person to see which sounds best.
A. «George and I went to the dance.»
B. «George and myself went to the dance.»
C. «George and me went to the dance.»
The correct answer is A. If you remove George, you now have a choice between «I went to the dance,» «Myself went to the dance,» or «Me went to the dance.» It’s easy to see that the first choice is correct.
The pronoun «me» should be used when someone else will perform the action to, or for, you. Which of these is correct?
A. «If you have questions, please call Justin or myself.»
B. «If you have questions, please call Justin or me.»
C. «If you have questions, please call Justin or I.»
In this example, you are asking someone to call you, or perform an action to you. If you forget that rule, just remove Justin from the sentence: «If you have questions, please call me.»
The pronoun «myself» should only be used when you are performing the action on yourself. No one else can do anything to yourself!
Here are some examples:
A. «I want to dress myself today»
B. «I’ll wash the dishes myself.»
C. «I got some ice cream for Greg and myself» (If confused, remove Greg from the sentence and see how it sounds.)
By using this simple technique, you should find it easy to use the correct usage for «me,» «myself,» and «I.» It may sound odd to you at first if you’re used to using these words incorrectly, but in time you’ll become used to it. Best of luck and happy grammar!