05 Language & Writing

The Pandemic of ‘I’ that is Killing ‘Me’

Political (in)correctness in grammar!

I have a grouse. I have a chip. I have a rant. It is about how everywhere I see, everyone I hear is using the personal pronoun ‘I’ as if it is the new black, of grammar.

The fear of being sniggered at or thought ignorant if one uses ‘me’ is killing off the poor word.

This shrinking from ‘me’ is so rampant that once one puts ‘I’ in a sentence, it is such a relief he forgets all other grammar and the very next sentence has three mistakes. Duty performed! Time for a well-deserved break from paying attention.

Sentences like, “Please invite Mike, Raj and I to the meeting”, or, “Can you call Matt and I tomorrow?” are rife now. People don’t even bat an eye, and it is taken so for granted it is the right usage. Unfortunately, it is not. And for some of us, it continues to be like an electric jolt to see or hear this. We are unable to become inured or blasé about it.

The rule for proper use is simple. ‘I’ is a subject. ‘Me’ is an object. So, use ‘I’ when you are doing something. Use ‘me’ when something is being done to you. And the rule remains the same even when there is more than one object or subject. Therefore, “Mike, Raj and I will come to the meeting”, is correct. “Mike, Raj and me will come to the meeting”, is incorrect. Similarly, “They called Matt and I this morning”, is wrong. “They called Matt and me this morning”, is right.

One way to quickly check if you are using ‘I’ rightly is to remove all the other people in the sentences and see how it sounds. If you have even faint memories of the pre-I-pandemic world, constructs like, “Me will come to the meeting”, and, “They called I this morning”, should sound terrible to you.

‘Me’ deserves to live. It should be loved, not loathed. It deserves to be in the light just as much as ‘I’, considering the need for both in English. Being oblivious will push ‘me’ into oblivion.

So help me here people, make ‘me’ live again. Start using it where it is right and stop defaulting blindly to ‘I’. And gently spread the word – it’s not always aye to ‘I’.

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