Is it more correct to say "I am only me" or "I am only I?" I know that the subject should follow a linking verb like "am" or "is", e.g.: "It is I", but "It is me" is also correct by common educated usage. So this matter of "I am me" or "I am I" is confusing. Which is more correct?

  • 'I know that the subject[ive?] should follow a linking verb like "am" or "is", e.g.: "It is I" ' is perpetuating a shibboleth. This has been covered on ELU before. Jan 5, 2016 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, when you are referring back to yourself as a subject, it were better to use "myself" instead of "I" or "me": I am only myself, a mere mortal.

To give an example of why "me" is better not to use, consider that "I" is to "We" as "me" is to "us". To say I am me today is like saying We are us today or They are them today. It were clearly better to say I am myself today, We are ourselves today, and They are themselves today.

  • 1
    It were better??
    – Jim
    Dec 6, 2015 at 5:34
  • Were here is used in the subjunctive mood. If you have not heard of subjunctive, I recommend you read up on it. Many modern users of English have lost awareness of this versatile mood.
    – Michael
    Dec 6, 2015 at 9:57
  • @Michael I don't think it is an issue of the subjunctive mood. You could use would be or (less likely) could be instead of were. Don't you agree?
    – user140086
    Dec 6, 2015 at 13:14
  • Subjunctive is not a required tool. Like many facilities in language, there are alternatives. In many cases, "would" or "could" can be used in the place of subjunctive, as you have suggested. I like using subjunctive in certain cases since it keeps the language concise and clear. I guess you could call me old-fashioned.
    – Michael
    Dec 6, 2015 at 13:28
  • I am not interesting in calling you anything. I just wanted to suggest alternatives for were.
    – user140086
    Dec 6, 2015 at 13:34

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