Has the pronoun "me" been discarded from general usage? More and more, I hear people say something like, "He served pizza to my sister and I" or "Between you and I, that dinner was not very good." It seems the nominative is out of favor.

  • 2
    Obviously the very common word "me" is nowhere near being discarded from general usage. Nobody says "They helped I", Give it to I" or "Tell I what you did today!" I think you have implicitly restricted the scope of your observations to "and me" vs. "and I".
    – herisson
    Mar 9, 2018 at 0:01
  • @sumelic Except in Somerset, where you might hear someone say: “He don’t like I”. I do think I here “I” being used instead of ‘me’. The strange thing is that a generation ago, Young people were being corrected for using ‘me’ instead of ‘I’.
    – Tuffy
    Mar 9, 2018 at 0:17
  • 1
    The subjective (in Latin grammar 'nominative') is I; me is the objective ('accusative' and 'dative'). Mar 9, 2018 at 1:06

3 Answers 3


Has the pronoun "me" been discarded from general usage?

Quite the contrary. In ordinary colloquial English object-form me has largely usurped the function of subject-form I. I is almost never encountered as a predicate these days—"It is I" is insufferably pompous—and is increasingly rare in conjunct subjects: you are far more likely to hear "Joe and me went" than "Joe and I went".

The contrary use you hear is a hypercorrection. People with an imperfect grasp of the Standard English (whatever that is) have been badgered throughout their school years to avoid X and me in subject contexts, so in relatively formal discourse they strain to speak 'properly' by replacing me with I—as often as not in object contexts.

  • Note that F.E.'s answer to the linked question mentions that the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language actually argues against calling this usage a "hypercorrection" because, regardless of how it originated, it seems to be established for some speakers to a greater extent than the "strain[ing] to speak 'properly' by replacing me with I" description implies.
    – herisson
    Mar 9, 2018 at 1:35
  • E.g. it's not just something that occurs when speakers are consciously trying to correct themselves or consciously trying to sound fancy; there seem to be speakers who will automatically say or write things like "He served pizza to my sister and I" in at least some contexts. It's not very common, and it is probably more common in situations of somewhat elevated formality than it is in relaxed colloquial speech, but it's not as rare in spontaneous contexts as something like "the man whom bought the pizza" (which I believe Huddleston and Pullum would agree is clearly a "hypercorrection").
    – herisson
    Mar 9, 2018 at 1:40
  • 1
    @sumelic I don't dispute the fact that the construction can be and is thoroughly appropriated by many speakers, or indeed that it has become common enough to be somewhat self-sustaining. Perhaps I should say that the construction has its origin in hypercorrection. On the other hand, I'm reluctant to set it on the same footing as subject X and me, which is far better established. I think it's more like the 'footballer's perfect' or in writing the unmotivated comma after an introductory conjunction. Mar 9, 2018 at 2:01
  • It seems clear that "and I" is not as well established as "and me". But that doesn't seem sufficient to demonstrate that "and I" is a hypercorrection. The authors of the CGEL, as well as a number of scholars mentioned in the Wikipedia article "Between you and I", indicate that it may not be accurate to characterize "and I" in contexts where "and me" would traditionally be expected as a hypercorrection.
    – herisson
    Mar 9, 2018 at 7:44
  • Although I don't necessarily disagree strongly with the basic idea of this answer, I feel like it glosses over a lot of things. "In ordinary colloquial English object-form me has largely usurped the function of subject-form I."--I guess you're making the same assumption as the original poster that we are only talking about coordinated pronouns, but it would be nice to make this clear. "Me" has not replaced "I" to any significant degree in sentences like "I am hungry" or "I want to go to the park."
    – herisson
    Mar 9, 2018 at 7:53

A construction such as to my sister and I is often rationalized as a hypercorrection, the application of a grammar rule in the wrong context, the assumption being that having been taught to avoid something like:

My sister and me went shopping.

some native speakers instead avoid it even where it belongs, as in your example sentence.

The actual state of affairs, however, is that any construction on the pattern

[personal noun] and I

is being felt more and more as a single noun phrase whose elements are fixed. Otherwise, it's difficult to explain why so many native speakers would come up with

my husband and I's slow dance at our wedding
my brother and I's childhoods
One of John and I's hopes and dreams

This usage dates, at least in print, to around 2004, but can in no way be parsed as a hypercorrection. No new possessive personal pronoun *I's has been coined: it is merely the logical outcome of treating the x and I construction as a fixed unit that resists being declined for case — except, of course, this novel way of forming the possessive.

Pronoun paradigms like I, me, my/mine and a few strange plurals like child-children, along with so-called "irregular" verbs like sing, sang, sung and comparisons with -er and est, are some of the few grammatical remnants of English's Germanic past. It's no surprise, then, that with pronouns there is a tendency toward paradigm leveling, eliminating morphological distinctions such as case from everyday, unfiltered language and considerable insecurity in determining what is "correct."


You hear "between you and I" more and more these days because most people have no idea what is correct. You even hear professionals say, "Call the nurse and I." Or worse,"Call the doctor and myself," because people assume (Wrongly!) that me/myself/I are interchangeable. They are not. They have their own specific uses. The perfectly good pronoun "ME" has been so maligned by parents correcting little Billy from saying, "Me and Joey are going to play." So all Billy heard being drummed into his head was: Joey and I, Joey and I. So, no matter the circumstances, Billy did his best to never utter the word "me" again, even when used as an object. So, whether the subject or direct/indirect object of a sentence, the word "me" was wiped out of little Billy's vocabulary, making no distinction between its legitimate and accurate use.

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