Me, myself and I

Lots of people (even, although I’m sure you won’t believe it, yours truly) sometimes struggle with when to say ‘I’ and when to say ‘me’ when there’s more than one pronoun in a sentence. As in ‘Dean and me went for a beer’ or ‘Dean and I went for a beer’*. But more and more I hear people abandoning ‘I’ and ‘me’ in favour of ‘myself’ (same goes for ‘yourself’ instead of ‘you’). So we get sentences like ‘Send the payment to Sam or myself’ or ‘We’ll give the new details to yourself’. Shudder.

Ive been to paradise but Ive never been to me

For reasons I can’t really fathom, people seem to be afraid of the word ‘me’, even when it’s grammatically correct. Maybe it’s a misguided attempt to sound posh or more professional – the logic that longer words make you sound clever (they don’t).

Thankfully, unlike a lot of other grammar-type stuff, this one’s really straightforward. You should only use ‘myself’ in a sentence that already has another first-person pronoun in it (like ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘my’). So you can say ‘I gave myself a good talking to’ because you already have the personal pronoun ‘I’. But if there’s no ‘I’, then you shouldn’t need to use ‘myself’. For example I just heard someone on the radio say ‘there are other people in the same situation as myself’. Wrong.

So there you go. Remember, it’s all about ‘me’.

* The answer is the second one BTW – ‘Dean and I went for a beer’. That's because the pronoun ‘I’ and the proper noun ‘Dean’ are the subject of the sentence, which means you need to use ‘I’ instead of ‘me’. Still with me? No? Okay, an easy way to check if you’ve got it right is to take out the other pronoun and see if the sentence still makes sense. So in this case that would be ‘I went for a beer’ – you wouldn't say ‘Me went for a beer’ (unless you’ve already had a lot of beers). Easy.