Driving from Portland to Seattle today, I heard an on-air radio apology about–of all things–grammar.
Steve Scher, host of KUOW’s Weekday, had said something like this on air: “Call in with your questions for Carl or I.” A listener then emailed Steve a strongly worded correction, letting him know it should have been “Carl or me.”
Was the listener correct? Yes! Steve read the email, apologized, and corrected himself.
But if it weren’t for organic gardener Carl Elliott in the studio, Steve would never have gone astray. People only make this mistake with compound subjects and objects. Steve would never have said “Call in with your questions for I.”
That’s how you can tell whether I or me is correct–by simply eliminating the other person. Examples:
He gave David and I a ride.
He gave I a ride? Never!
Me and Grace met yesterday.
Me met yesterday? Not a chance.
Whenever you get stuck wondering whether the correct pronoun is I or me, she or her, he or him, etc., just eliminate the other person. The correct pronoun becomes obvious.
Do you have a question about grammar for me? Please send it.