The proper use of "I"


Many people, including well-educated public figures, are misusing "I." 


"Thank you for inviting John and I to the party."


"It comes down to a decision between him and I."


Is it because we stressed "I" so much as the subject that it's generalized? As parents, we constantly correct children who say "Me and John are going downtown."  "John and I," we say.


Do you think that's why "I" is used as the object when "me" is really correct? As in "thank you for inviting John and me to the party." My rule of thumb (when I correct the kids) is to say "take John out of the sentence." Then it sounds incorrect to them to say "thank you for inviting I to the party." I think we've just made them self-conscious about ever using "me," when it is actually correct at times. 


I cringe when I hear "I" used as the object of the verb. How can we fix this if so many prominent people are doing it? 


Just ranting. I'd love to know what you think, though. 

asked Mar 29 '12 at 03:57 Janet Kay Jensen New member

I agree, Janet, you are so right. As you say, the easiest way is to try the sentence without anybody else in it and see if it makes sense.

Angela RigleyApr 02 '12 at 18:42

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To start with, I believe this is a difficult grammar rule for many people to remember.  There is no easy rhyme like "i after e" that we learn on this one. 


Rather than the self-conscious theory, I propose that the internet has been detrimental to correct grammar.  There has always been a significant percentage of people who speak with poor grammar.  But when I was a kid, whatever we read was more likely to have been professionally edited.  Textbooks, novels, and newspapers all reinforced correct grammar rules, whether we were trying to learn or not.  We now probably collectively read more these days than in the past.  In addition to textbooks, we search the internet.  We often now learn from blogs and other websites that aren't necessarily written by someone with a strong grasp of grammar rules.  Online news is often informal or self-reported by the public.  Stories written by professional reporters are augmented by a slew of reader comments.  Though we can now read for entertainment in the form of eBooks, rather than on paper, more "writers" are self-publishing without using an editor.  Much of the reading done for entertainment is with friends on Facebook or Twitter and such.  OMG! Ppl will bbl 2 c wazzup.  Poor grammar, writing without vowels, or just using initials is normalized.  People who regularly communicate in this manner really couldn't care less about grammar rules as long as they can get the meaning across quickly. 


In 2008, when I was looking for a new provider for my business banking and 401(k) plan, I received an email from a vice president of one bank.  He thanked me for the opportunity and hoped I would choose his bank.  He referred to me as "U" - twice! There just aren't words to express how much that surprised me. 

link comment edited Mar 31 '12 at 06:36 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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