There’s no “I” in team. We’ve all heard that one. But there is a “me,” provided you move the letters around a little. Why am I starting this blog post with a ridiculously overused corporate cliché? Because the person who made it up realizes that “I” and “me” are entirely different words with entirely different meanings. This post is all about “me” (the word “me,” that is).
“Me” has an unfairly bad rap. In both writing and conversation, people frequently tend to substitute the perfectly correct and appropriate accusative form of the pronoun with the nominative form. This is grammatical over-compensation, and over-compensating doesn’t work any better here than it does on that balding guy with the sports car.
There are lots of situations where it is not only perfectly acceptable to use “me” instead of “I,” but actually preferable. We all know it’s wrong to say “Me and Rick are going out after work.” But it is equally wrong to say “Let Rick or I know if you want to go out after work.” If the second sentence doesn’t look wrong to you, take Rick out of the sentence (“Let I know if you want to go out after work”). Sounds ridiculous, right? It is. I’ve heard or read the following nerve-rattling sentences over the past few weeks (names have been changed):
“Please send the report to Nancy and I after you’ve had a chance to review.”
“She left the package with Ron and I.”
“Please let David or I know what time you’ll arrive.”
“He requested a service from Jim and I.”
“Would you like to schedule a call with Bob and I?”
Hopefully, reading these five sentences made you want to take out your red pen. The use of “I” in these sentences does not make them sound more formal or professional. What they taught us in middle school should be just as important in business writing. “I” is a subject; “me” is an object. It’s as simple as that. As I type these blatantly incorrect sentences, Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar function is kicking in, telling me to substitute “me” for “I.” If Microsoft Word can get it right, we should all be able to. And feel free to give me grief about being a total grammar nerd because I can handle it. Can you?
So which common grammar errors tick you off the most? Please comment below. Just watch your pronoun choice!