Me and I Are Not Interchangeable

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?





Have you ever written a sentence and thought it doesn’t look right? If you’re like me, it’s happened more times than you can count. Here are a few instances that might be the culprits. 


Me or I?

Most people know that I is a subject, as in the following example.

My husband and I went to the theater.

Pretty standard, right?

The problem comes when writing this kind of sentence.

Yes: If you have any problems, please let Linda or me know. 

Should it be Linda or I or Linda or me?

It’s definitely Linda or me. Why? If you reverse the structure of the sentence, using I makes no sense. 

No: Please let I know if you have any problems.

Yes: Please let me know if there are any problems.


e.g. or i.e.

Many people use the abbreviations of e.g. or i.e. as synonyms, but that’s not correct. An abbreviation for the Latin phrase, exempli gratia, e.g. literally means for example

The Latin term id est, i.e., means that is. Think of i.e. as “such as.” 


Who or that?

The pronoun who refers to people and should be used when writing and speaking about said people.

No: You know Joe, the guy that sold me my car.
Yes: You know Joe, the guy who sold me my car. 

That should be used when discussing an object. Using that implies Joe is not a person, but rather a thing, which is wrong on so many levels.


Amp up or ramp up?


This is one I hear all of the time. Ramp up means to build or increase. There is no such phrase as amp up, according to Merriam-Webster.com.



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References

These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.

The Associated Press Stylebook, 2016 edition
The Chicago Manual of Style
Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition
The Bugaboo Review: A lighthearted guide to exterminating confusion about words, spelling, and grammar




Bio

A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women's fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.

Comments

I'm doing an edit now, and I've had to fix numerous predicate pronouns.
angel011 said…
I keep running into sentences like "The guy that...". It definitely feels wrong on so many levels.

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