Why is grammar important? Using good grammar is an important part of making a good impression, whether you are speaking or writing. Many businesses require writing samples as part of their interview process to make sure candidates can use proper English, and writers who want to be taken seriously must learn how to use correct grammar. A common grammar problem is the misuse of me, myself, and I. At some point during the school years, many people got the mistaken impression that we are not allowed to use the word me. It might have been related to the "Mom and I went for a walk" type of exercises. In any case, I often receive e-mails or see posts on forums that say things like, "Please give your forms to George or I..." or "Please send your orders to Jane or myself." Both are incorrect.
- Skill level:
Use the word "I" only when you are the subject of your own sentence. In other words, the sentence is about you or you are taking action. "I ate the spaghetti." Most people have no trouble with this but get confused when adding another person to the sentence. An easy way to determine whether you should refer to yourself is to just take the other person out of the sentence. Examine the sentence “Steve and I went to the store.” If you remove Steve, you now have a choice between "Me went to the store," "Myself went to the store," or “I went to the store." Looking at it in this way, it should be easy to see that I is the correct pronoun to use here.
Use the pronoun "me" when you are the direct object of the sentence. In other words, someone else will perform the action to, or for, you. For example, “me” is the direct object in the sentence “If you have concerns, please call Greg or me.” In this case, you are asking someone to call you, so they are performing an action to you. If this is difficult to determine, just remove Greg from the sentence: "If you have questions, please call me." Without Greg in the sentence, it feels very natural to use “me.”
Use the pronoun myself only when you are the direct object of your own action. No one other than you can do anything to yourself. Here are some examples: A. I want to drive myself today. B. I'll clean the house myself. C. I bought dinner for Grace and myself. (If you are confused by the introduction of another person, remove Grace from the sentence and you will see that “myself” is correct.)