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When to use "me", "myself" and "I" - Emma Bryce


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Me, myself, and I. You may be tempted to use these words interchangeably, because they all refer to the same thing. But in fact, each one has a specific role in a sentence: ‘I’ is a subject pronoun, ‘me’ is an object pronoun, and ‘myself’ is a reflexive or intensive pronoun. Emma Bryce explains what each role reveals about where each word belongs.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

What’s the difference between ‘me’, myself’, and ‘I’? To understand what makes these pronouns unique, a good first question is: what are pronouns? You might also want to do a crash course in the difference between a subject and an object. Once you understand these basic rules, you’ll be ready to tackle the pronouns ‘me’, ‘myself’, and ‘I’, and understand their roles in a sentence.

The first thing to realize is that they each have totally different jobs. ‘Me’ is an object pronoun, ‘I’ is a subject pronoun, and ‘myself’ is a reflexive or intensive/emphatic pronoun. This brief explanation from Washington State University gives a good outline of the different issues involved in figuring out how to use each word. Another source explains when to use ‘me’, and when to use ‘I’, and Grammar Monster gives a useful breakdown explaining the difference between ‘me’ and ‘myself’.

Because ‘myself’ can be a particularly tricky pronoun to use, there are lots of sources online that describe its purpose. In fact, Grammar Girl has two guides explaining how to use ‘myself’. One of them outlines the basics, and another explains a very useful and simple rule: when in doubt about whether to use ‘me’, ‘myself’, or ‘I’, simply imagine how you would say the sentence without the other person there. It’s a quick fix, but it works every time!

If you need a break from the world of pronouns, why not take a look at this TED-Ed video on semicolons? You could also peruse the other videos on offer in TED’s grammar and language section.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Emma Bryce
  • Animator Henry Chung, Plamen Ananiev, Mark Storer, Hannah de Spon
  • Composer Tom Jordan
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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