Myself, I and Me


Which of the sentences below are correct?

  1. The contract was signed by the devil, Daniel Webster and myself.
  2. She gave the Chia Pet to Grace and I.
  3. I myself prefer liverwurst.
  4. Joan and I made a suspension bridge out of Popsicle sticks.
  5. Me and Craig rode the bus to the Hannah Montana concert.
  6. Contact Vladimir or myself if you have any questions.
  7. I gave myself an appendectomy.

E=mc2

Admit it: your order of preference for these words goes like this: myself stands at the top, I is a close second and you’d rather stick a fork in a light socket than stoop to using me. You think myself sounds more serious somehow. It seems more authoritative than little old me. It makes you, as a writer writing about yourself, sound like a detached observer. Right? Um, no.  Unless by detached you mean pompous and confused.

I can’t tell you how often I have to beat business writers over the head with my Red Pen of Righteousness about this one.  They seem to view me as too short and humble-looking to be taken seriously, and that I appears cultured and patrician. Or is it conversely because it feels egomaniacal to use me? The problem typically arises when you’re referring to yourself along with other people. (See the above examples.)

Now, I’m not going to go into some long-winded academic explanation of reflexives, objects, subjects and personal pronouns, because you’re not going to pay attention anyway. And I’m just sick of that glazed-over look you get when I try to teach you something. So instead, I’m going to give you two simple tests to determine when to use each of these.

  • Since myself is the favorite, let’s start there. Usually, the only time you would use myself is when you’ve used I somewhere earlier in the sentence:

4. I gave myself an appendectomy.

7. I myself prefer liverwurst.

Stop using it elsewhere. Now.

  • To find out whether you need to use me or I in a sentence, remove the other person from that sentence and see how it reads:

2. She gave the Chia Pet to (Grace and) I.

4. (Joan and) I made a suspension bridge out of Popsicle sticks.

5. Me (and Craig) rode the bus to the Hannah Montana concert.

See how easy it is? Use these simple tests to spare yourself (and me) embarrassments galore.

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2 Comments

  1. “Usually, the only time you would use myself is when you’ve used I somewhere earlier in the sentence.”

    I didn’t know that, thank you!


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