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Thursday, January 15, 2009

V-8 Moment Over The Me vs. I Issue

Did you ever have one of those V-8 moments except with an article you see somewhere instead of what you're drinking with your breakfast.

You bop yourself on the head and say, "Darn, why didn't I write that?!"

Well, an article that caused one of those moments for me is based on the me vs I conundrum that seems to plague American speech and writing. It forces us into very odd constructions using reflexsives and even causes us to feel uncomfortable when we use those objects of pronouns correctly. So here's the article by Suzanne Lieurance called "Why Are People So Afraid of ME?":

In terms of editing, an editor would never remove this incorrect-but-getting-commoner use from dialogue if the character saying the words is the kind of person who would use her prounoun/subjects that way. And check your style books on this. You may be surprised at the variety of opinion on the infamous Me vs. I.

(Note: Thank you to Yvonne Perry, owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Services, for turning me on to this article.)

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at, where writes will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog.


Anonymous said...

Well done videos, HoJo! Nice also to put a voice and personality with the author of two of my all time favorite literary "how-to" books. I'm actually starting to earn a little money now as an editor, and a GREAT deal of what I learned in order to be able to do that I got from the Frugal Editor.

Suzanne Lieurance said...


Thanks for suggesting my article. I hope it clears up the "me vs. I" problem for many people.

Happy writing!

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach

Pee Wee said...

Carolyn, nice blog. The issue "me" versus "I" has always been a quandary for me. I beleive the reason is, I was taught a different way than what is acceptable now. So, old habits die hard. Thanks for your insightful blog.

Pee Wee

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Great article - I will have to reference the link tomorrow when I post on my online writer's club journal.
And true, these rules don't always apply to dialogue, because most people don't 'speak' proper English.
And that's okay, too.

L. Diane Wolfe

Catherine Bybee said...

Awesome videos, Carolyn. It's nice to put a face with the name. I tend to video blog with the help of youtube. Stop by and give me your two cents if you have a minute.

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