Most of us get pronouns wrong in speech occasionally, but we can take a moment in business writing to use the correct pronouns.
I, me, myself
The following section looks at the use of I, me and myself, but the rules apply to other personal pronouns as well (she, her, herself).
I and me
Use I for the subject and me for the object in a sentence. The subject performs the action and the object receives it.
I am writing a report. My manager wrote the brief for me.
Most of us don’t have a problem with these sorts of simple sentences. The difficulty arises when there’s someone else in the sentence as well.
Jane and I are writing the report together. (correct)
Jane and me are writing the report together. (incorrect)
My manager wrote the brief for Jane and me. (correct)
My manager wrote the brief for Jane and I. (incorrect)
The easiest way to see if you’re using the correct pronoun in these sentences is to remove ‘Jane’ and see what pronoun is left. That is the correct pronoun.
Myself is a reflexive or emphatic pronoun, so use it to refer back to the subject of the sentence, or for emphasis.
I gave myself a treat once I had finished writing the report.
I myself don’t enjoy report writing.
Do not use myself as a substitute for I or me.
Please send your editing comments to myself. (incorrect)
Please send your editing comments to me. (correct)
Other pronoun issues
It is I
After a linking verb, such as the verb to be (I am, you are, he/she/it is), the traditional grammar rule is to use the subjective form.
It is I. (correct)
It is me. (incorrect)
It is we. (correct)
It is us. (incorrect)
Having told you the rule, the objective form is common in informal English.
It is me.
between you and I, or between you and me?
Use the object pronoun after a preposition such as between.
between you and me (correct)
between you and I (incorrect)
than I or me?
Which of the following sentences would you say or write?
He’s shorter than I.
He’s shorter than me.
The second usage is becoming increasingly acceptable, but traditional grammarians prefer than I. Their argument is that than is a conjunction, not a preposition, and so introduces a subordinate phrase.
She’s cleverer than I. (traditionally more correct)
She’s cleverer than me.
Traditional grammarians care about this usage more than I do. (traditionally more correct)
Traditional grammarians care about this usage more than me.
Gerunds and personal pronouns
Gerunds are verbal nouns ending in -ing that behave like nouns.
Fasting is good for you.
I like your cooking.
Which sentences would you use?
She resents you being more successful.
She resents your being more successful.
I didn’t like him going without me.
I didn’t like his going without me.
In both examples, the second sentences are more grammatically correct, but many people would use the first sentences, especially in informal language.
But you need a possessive pronoun when the gerund is the subject.
My handwriting is poor.