Do you know everything you need to know about common pronouns – “I”, “me”, “myself”, “who” and “whom” ? Test yourself here. Choose the pronoun that is correct according to the rules of grammar and usage:
- Please would you send the file to Deon and I / me / myself.
- Sibo and I / me / myself will both be attending the meeting on Tuesday.
- Do you think you could send a copy of that to my manager and I / me / myself?
- The report was written by the Compliance Manager, with some input from I / me / myself.
- Who / Whom have you spoken to about that problem?
- Thelma and I / me / myself are leading the project together.
- Who / Whom wrote this excellent summary?
Was it easy to choose the correct pronoun? Are you confident about your choices? Compare your answers with those below:
Here are the rules:
Rule 1: Me”, “Myself”, and “I”
The first-person singular pronouns – “me”, “myself”, and “I” cause the most problems for writers and speakers. The reason is that we use first-person pronouns more than any others. Below are the rules you must know.
“Myself” is only correct when it refers to an I used earlier in the sentence. For instance:
- I installed the software myself.
- I always check Dave’s work myself.
- Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself
- I cut myself shaving yesterday
It is grammatically wrong to use “myself” when you should use “me” . For example, these sentences are incorrect:
- John asked Natalie and myself to be at the meeting. (WRONG)
- Please send the documents to John or myself. (WRONG)
- The proposal was prepared with some input from myself. (WRONG)
“I” and “Me”
These words cause confusion when other people are mentioned in a sentence. Whether you should use “I” or “Me” will depend on the sentence construction. In order to decide whether to use “I” or “Me”, leave out the other person and imagine yourself alone in the sentence.
- John and (/me) are going to the movies
I am going to the movies (right)
Me am going to the movies (wrong)
- My manager gave tickets to John and (I/)
My manager gave the tickets to I (wrong)
My manager gave the tickets to me (right)
The exception to this rule is when the word “Between” is at the beginning of the sentence – i.e. “Between YOU and ME”
And remember what you were taught in primary school about the letter “I” to indicate the first person… we must NEVER use “i” (as in: “i hope you’re well”)
Rule 2: “Who” and “Whom”
Who is a subject pronoun. It is used where other subject pronouns such as I and he/she appear.
- Who is your manager? (Compare “He is your manager.”)
- Do you know who called? (Compare “Do you know he called?”)
- Who wrote this excellent summary? (Compare “He wrote this excellent summary.”)
Whom is an object pronoun. It comes after prepositions such as for, with, and to. It also serves as an object of verbs. Use it where you would use other object pronouns such as me and him.
- For whom is this gift? (Compare “It is for me.”)
- To whom it may concern. (Compare “It may concern me.”)
So remember that you should usually only use “whom” when you have a preposition preceding it – eg: to whom, in whom, with whom, on whom, for whom etc.
Copperline Training offers basic and advanced Business Writing Skills courses. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on how we can help you or your staff to communicate more effectively and clearly in writing.
Cape Town – August 2011
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