Friday, August 1, 2008

The I's don't necessarily have it

Granny's topic for today is the pronouns I and me, because they seem to be a source of great confusion.

I was at a meeting yesterday and two of the people who participated made bad choices when it came to these pronouns. One said, " ... let Sharon or I know," and the second said, "If you are scheduling appointments for Jan, Lisa or I ... ."

Both those folks were just plain wrong. I could explain why by getting into a big discussion of objective and subjective pronouns or I can give you a quick and easy way to say it right without worrying about the grammar. Hmmm. I think I'll choose the second. Here's goes.

If you were asking someone to notify you about something, would you say, "Let I know"? If you would, you're beyond my ability to help. However, my guess is you'd say, "Let me know." And you'd be right.

Just because you add another person to the list of those who should be notified doesn't mean you change the pronoun. "Let Sharon or me know" is correct. If you wouldn't say it in the singular, don't say it in the plural.

It's the same with the second example. Would you say, "If you're scheduling appointments for I"? I doubt it. So, if you wouldn't say it in the singular, don't alter the pronoun just because appointments are being scheduled for more than one person.

The trick to knowing which to use is to take everyone else out of the sentence. When the only person left is you, then you make the decision whether to use I or me.

Give it a try. You'll see that it works.

Please bring a copy of the report for Jean, Harry,and I/me.

Please speak to Phil or I/me before you leave for the meeting.

When the meeting's over, please tell Bill and I/me what the committee decided.

See? It's foolproof. You're welcome.

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