Grammar and punctuation 101: Me, myself and I

This 101 is going to turn into a week-by-week thing until we’ve exhausted the list of the most frustrating grammar and punctuation confusions out there. With essay writing – especially when it comes to uni – you’re supposed to be on point, but sometimes it’s just so hard (‘Should I have used a semicolon or a comma?! Argh!’ and other frustrations) and not to mention mortifying, when you see so much red pen on your returned piece of coursework that it looks like a crime scene. Therefore, if you ever have a problem you just can’t get your head around, unCOVered can be your go-to for getting the little so-and-sos sorted.

This week: Me, myself and I


The first thing to understand about ‘me’ and ‘I’ is that ‘me’ is always used as the object of a sentence, and that ‘I’ is always used as the subject. But what is the object and what is the subject of a sentence? I hear you ask:

Object = The thing that is acted upon
Subject = The doer of the action

E.g. Jenny gave the dog a ball

So, ‘Jenny’ is the subject, and ‘dog’ is the object.

Here are two examples of the simplest sentences using ‘me’ and ‘I’ as object and subject respectively:

I gave him a hug
He gave me a hug

But what about when a third person is added to the mix?

He gave her and I a hug? Nope
He gave her and me a hug? Yep

So, how to figure out which one to use? It’s quite simple: in this type of sentence, take out the object that is not yourself and see if it makes sense:

He gave I a hug? Nope
He gave me a hug? Yep

I’ve found that the most common confusion with the me, myself and I issue is that people tend to use ‘me’ as a subject, rather than an object:

Me and Charlotte gave him a hug
Me and Charlotte went to the shop

Even though it’s common, it’s technically not correct – or ‘standard’, as people prefer to use these days. So, how to figure out why? Again, it’s simple: this time, remove the subject that is not yourself and see if it makes sense:

Me gave him a hug? Nope
Me went to the shop? Nope

So, I gave him a hug turns into Charlotte and I gave him a hug, and I went to the shop turns into Charlotte and I went to the shop.

Why does ‘I’ or ‘me’ always come last? You might find yourself asking, and it’s simply good manners – the same way you might open a door and let somebody else through first. 🙂


I’ve found that some people like to use ‘myself’ to make themselves sound a little more sophisticated, similarly to the way some people use ‘I’ because they want to sound a bit more formal. This is all fine – except if they do it wrong. If they do it wrong, they actually do the complete opposite:

Myself and John sat down for a meeting…
Send it to John and myself so we can look over it…

Nope nope nope.

To use ‘myself’ correctly, you should only use it to a) refer back to yourself as the subject of a sentence and b) as an intensifier – i.e., to add emphasis.


a) I bought myself a birthday present
b) I myself don’t really enjoy swimming

That’s it. Never – never – substitute ‘I’ or ‘me’ with ‘myself’.


John and I sat down for a meeting. Yep
Send it to John and me so we can look over it. Yep


There you have it: me, myself and I in a nutshell. Questions? Comments? Write them below.

– Karis