This guide will help you understand when to use “me,” “myself,” and “I” and will give you memory aids to help you recall the rules later.
When to Use “I”
Use “I” when the “I” is the subject of the sentence. Usually, that means “I” begins the sentence or follows introductory words that are not the main sentence.
After we met, I sent him an email.
Sally and I were pleased to have him as a colleague.
When to Use “me”
Use “me” when the word follows a preposition.
There are 150 prepositions, but you don’t need to remember all of them. When “me” follows a word that indicates something about “me,” it’s likely a preposition. These are the prepositions most often used with “me”: about, above, for, on, under, from, onto, after, between, in, over, by, up to, around, concerning, instead of, regarding, with, at, into, because of, like, through, without, before, near, behind, except, of, to, with respect to.
Examples of “me” following a preposition:
because of me
Use “me” when the word follows the verb as a direct or indirect object.
“Me” is a direct or indirect object when it receives the action of the verb. This “me” will be later in the sentence and will be the recipient of the action.
Examples of “me” following the verb as a direct or indirect object
She appreciates me and gives advice to me.
Jill chased Jack and me.
I assume you want me.
When to Use “myself”
- Use “myself” when you’re referring back to yourself after you’ve used “I.”
I found myself in the middle of an argument.
I hurt myself when I fell on the ice.
- Use “myself” when you want to emphasize that you will do it. You could leave off the “myself,” but adding it gives the statement strength. Also use “myself” after you have already written “I” as the subject and want to refer to yourself.
It’s done right when I do it myself.
I found myself in the wrong restaurant.
When not to Use “myself”
Don’t use “myself” in place of “me” or “I.” If you can use “me” in the sentence, use it instead of “myself.”
NOT: I volunteered Jim and myself to do the work.
INSTEAD: I volunteered Jim and me to do the work.
NOT: Set it up so myself could do it.
INSTEAD: Set up so I could do it.
NOT: She built it for myself.
INSTEAD: She built it for me.