Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was taught at school that the following expression is not grammatically correct:

Who is there? It's me.

The correct one is:

Who is there? It's I.

Can you let me know which one is accurate?

Here is a good explanation about both forms.

share|improve this question
    
Yeah you have a valid question. But you could circumvent this whole dilemna, by saying your name : D Who is there? Hazro City... –  Arjun J Rao Jan 30 '11 at 10:36
    
Muaz Khan...... –  Muaz Khan Jan 30 '11 at 10:43
    
When I was little my mother took a pen to a children's book and replaced every instance of "it's me" with "it's I." That didn't stop me from using the former though in conversation. –  jbpjackson Jan 30 '11 at 18:55
    
Why don't you just use your name instead of referring to yourself as "it"? I don't understand why there's so much debate over how to grammatically write sentence that essentially doesn't mean anything. –  user15260 Nov 25 '11 at 16:00
add comment

7 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

As reported from the NOAD:

me /mi/
pronoun [first person singular]
1. used by a speaker to refer to himself or herself as the object of a verb or preposition:

Do you understand me?
Wait for me!

• used after the verb to be and after than or as:

Hi, it's me.
You have more than me.

• informal to or for myself:

I've got me a job.

It's then correct to say it's me.

share|improve this answer
5  
Well, NOAD (and dictionaries in general) report usage, not correctness. You would need to get a ruling from the Supreme Worldwide English Authority to know what is correct. –  GEdgar Nov 25 '11 at 17:51
    
There isn't such authority for English, differently from other languages. For French there is the Académie française, and for Italian there is the Accademia della Crusca ("Academy of Chaff"). –  kiamlaluno Nov 25 '11 at 19:49
add comment

"It is ME" is not grammatically correct in the academic sense, but is used in spoken English.

"It is I" is grammatically correct in the pure sense, but would never be used in spoken English - or very rarely by people who speak in an ultra-formal dialect.

"It is I" would have been correct in Shakespeare's time, in spoken English, but not now.

share|improve this answer
1  
I think 'Shakespeare's time' is pushing it a bit. I would probably say late 19th/early 20th century in some circles. –  user3444 Jan 30 '11 at 10:47
    
That's what I was taught...I want to know subtleties...why American use "Its Me" instead of "Its I"? –  Muaz Khan Jan 30 '11 at 10:48
1  
Just to add to tegner's answer, there are two other errors in the examples: - It should be "it's", not "its", as you are using this as an abbreviation for "it is". ("Its" means "belonging to it" or "part of it", etc). - "Me" is not capitalised (unless it's at the start of a sentence). –  Steve Melnikoff Jan 30 '11 at 11:58
4  
"It's I" is not standard in written English anymore either. –  Kosmonaut Jan 31 '11 at 16:34
1  
@tegner: Please give evidence that "'it is I' is grammatically correct in the pure sense" and "'it is me' is not grammatically correct in the academic sense" — these two claims are not backed up by usage or convention. –  Kosmonaut Feb 1 '11 at 14:29
show 3 more comments

"It is me," is more common, and correct. However, "It is I who am here," is also correct, and "who am here" can be left off and implied, making "It is I," also correct.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The answer to the question 'Who's there?' is 'It's me.' 'It is I' would normally be heard only when something else follows it, and then only in rather formal contexts, as in 'It is I who have done all the work, so it is I who should get the compensation.'

share|improve this answer
add comment

This question is related to I can run faster than... In that exchange nohat describes the pronouns being used in the nominative and accusative cases. Modern English speakers have become more comfortable using the accusative case in comparisons even though traditionally comparisons have used the nominative case. It is further noted that "both forms are standard."

Modern English has slurred the distinction between cases, using word order to denote case rather than declension. We still use different words for most personal pronouns (he/him, I/me, we/us), but have lost it for you/you. "I talk to you." "You talk to me."

When asking "Who is there?" it would be correct to answer in the nominative case, "I am here." Likewise, asking "Who is it?" should elicit "It is I" or "I am it."

share|improve this answer
add comment

It varies on context.

Who called Jodie? It was he.

Who told you about it? It was I.

Who had the phone conversation? It must have been they.

Who cares? It is we.

A more thorough explanation

share|improve this answer
    
Nobody talks like that anymore. "It must have been they" sounds ungrammatical to me. –  siride Aug 25 '13 at 16:51
add comment

An aside: when you knock at a door, and someone from inside asks "Who's there?", Don't answer "Me" or "It's me". Aside from being ungrammatical, it conveys no information (unless the other person knows your voice).

We need to make the distinction between written and spoken English, especially informal spoken English - as between friends. Almost everyone says things like "Me and my brother went to the beach", but you certainly wouldn't say that giving a speech in a public forum.

Here's a good exlanation of the "it's me/I" construction:

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/it-is-i-versus-it-is-me?page=all

"The traditional grammar rule states when a pronoun follows a linking verb, such as "is," the pronoun should be in the subject case. It’s also called the “nominative.”

share|improve this answer
    
"It's me" does convey information because when you say it, you are using your voice, and your voice often identifies you. As such, it's the most minimal way to respond without revealing any other information. –  siride Aug 25 '13 at 16:52
add comment

protected by RegDwigнt Jan 29 '13 at 14:15

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.