How to Know When to Use Subject or Object Pronouns
If you don't know whether to use “I” or “me,” it's easy to learn which pronoun when you follow a few simple tips.
Step 1: Know the subject and object pronouns Know your subject and object pronouns. In English, "I," "you," "he," "she," "it," "we," and "they" are subject pronouns. "Me," "you," "him," "her," "it," "us," and "them" are object pronouns.
Step 2: Use subject pronouns as the subject of a sentence Use subject pronouns to replace the noun that is the subject of the sentence -- the person or thing that is doing something.
Step 3: Use subject pronouns after a state-of-being verb Replace nouns with subject pronouns when they follow a verb that conveys a state of being, like "were" or "am."
TIP: For example, to use a subject pronoun to replace the noun "Pam" in the sentence, "My best friend is Pam," The grammatically correct sentence is, "My best friend is she."
Step 4: Use object pronouns as the object of a sentence Use object pronouns to replace the noun that is the object of the sentence -- the person or thing to whom or which something is being done.
Step 5: Use object pronouns in a prepositional phrase Replace nouns with object pronouns when they are the objects of a prepositional phrase -- a phrase starting with a preposition like "to" or "after" -- and are telling where or when something is happening.
TIP: For example, to use an object pronoun to replace the noun "Jim" in the sentence, "I gave a card to Jim," the grammatically correct sentence is, "I gave a card to him."
Step 6: Simplify the sentence Simplify the sentence by mentally eliminating subjects or objects other than your pronoun and dropping extra phrases.
TIP: Reduce the sentence "Mike, Andy, and I went to the store" by dropping Mike and Andy. "I went to the store" is grammatically correct. "Me went to the store" is not.
Step 7: See if your pronoun sounds right Read the simplified sentence using your chosen pronoun and see if it sounds right. With practice, you won't have to give much thought to finding the right word -- it will come naturally.
FACT: In 1762, Robert Lowth published one of the first grammar textbooks in English. He wanted to standardize the way the language was written and spoken.