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Grammar Despair: Do I Say "Him and Me" or "He and I"?

At Amazon.com
At Amazon.com
 

If you don’t know when to use him and me or he and I, don’t feel bad. This problem is so common that I literally wrote a book around it, Grammar Despair: Quick, simple solutions to problems like, “Do I say him and me or he and I?”

 

The answer is fairly straightforward, so let’s get started:

 

Let’s say you’re heading to the movies with Bob and you’re not sure how to phrase this: do you say, “Me and him went to the movies,” or “He and I went to the movies,” or “Him and I went to the movies,” or “He and me went to the movies”?

 

Start by temporarily dropping off the He or Him, and see what you have left.

 

Would you say, “I went to the movies,” or “Me went to the movies”?

 

You’re right: “I went to the movies.” Remember the “I.”

 

Now, leave the “I” for a minute and look at He/Him. Would you say,  “He went to the movies,” or “Him went to the movies”?

 

Yes: “He went to the movies.”

 

So, if both you and Bob go to the movies, you will say, “He and I went to the movies.”

 

(Yes, it is also correct to say, “I and he went to the movies,” but this sounds stilted and awkward. It is not wrong, however.)

 

Okay, let’s look at another sentence:

 

Do you say, “This gift basket is for her and me,” or “This gift basket is for she and I,” or “This gift basket is for she and me,” or “This gift basket is for her and I”?

 

We’ll use the same technique of temporarily getting rid of one of the two people and focusing on the other. Let’s concentrate on I/me:

 

Do you say, “This gift basket is for I,” or “This gift basket is for me”?

 

Yes, it’s for me.

 

And do I share this basket with her or she? In other words, is it, “This gift basket is for her” or “This gift basket is for she”?

 

Yes, “This gift basket is for her.”

 

Putting it all together, you'll then say, “This gift basket is for me and her,” or “This gift basket is for her and me,” the latter which sounds a bit smoother to my ears.

 

That’s it. There aren't many magical formulas out there, but this one is as close as it gets. Whenever you’re faced with two or more people in the sentence and you don’t know whether to use he/she/they/we/I or him/her/them/us/me, figure out what sounds right, one person at a time, then put the whole thing together at the end.

 

So where do you work -- a bank, university, government office, Fortune 500 Company? People from all these places regularly visit this particular blog, with the same question that sent you here. You're not alone. But you can leave the crowd -- now -- of people who need to write but really don't know how to, by buying and reading Grammar Despair. You can also borrow the book on Amazon Prime.

 

This won't be the last time you'll be writing something and need to sound intelligent and resourceful. Grammar Despair is inexpensive, easy to read, very informative, and will make you a better writer. And believe me, in today's digital world -- you need to be a good writer.

 

The links below will take you to the paperback Grammar Despair, $8.99 and the Kindle version, $5.99 at Amazon. (You can look through the table of contents and the first part of the book for free at the Amazon site.) There is also a link to my latest book, Live Happily on Less, digital version.

 

 

8 Responses to Grammar Despair: Do I Say "Him and Me" or "He and I"?

Yvonne Branchflower
via stevehendersonfineart.com
Your article's title invited me/I to help, only to discover you didn't need any help at all! I/me cringe at the misuse of basic grammar, and hope more than a few people read your humorous lesson.

Carolyn Henderson
via stevehendersonfineart.com
Thank you, Yvonne. I know that this particular me/I and he/him issue has many people confused, and slipping in "myself" and "himself" just doesn't do the trick. I have been amazed at the number of people with PhD s in assorted subjects who declare that "This is a difficult time for he and I."

I don't necessarily think the answer is going back to parsing and diagramming sentences, but some basic grammar in the high school curriculum, coupled with just lots and lots of writing (not journal writing, please -- the average high school student does not need to spend even more time focusing on himself), would be positive for all involved.

So, also, would be verifiable, real, actual, useful basic drawing classes -- not ones that instruct the student to get in touch with his inner self, but ones that teach just what the description says: drawing basics. Can you imagine the difference that this would make in Pictionary games? Some of my children might then actually welcome my being on the team, instead of all wanting to partner with Steve.

julia
via stevehendersonfineart.com
thanks! As a pro editor, I always forget this and have to look it up... this is the funniest and clearest explanation yet! I will remember the fruit basket.

Carolyn Henderson
via stevehendersonfineart.com
Thank you, Julia. Your comment was the first thing to greet me on a rocky Monday morning, and it gives me a smile to start my week.

A lovely week to you!

vinola
via stevehendersonfineart.com
It's ironic that you and her also have gospel roots. Is this statement grammically correct.

Carolyn Henderson
via stevehendersonfineart.com
Hi, Vinola -- great question.

Drop off the her: "It's ironic that you have gospel roots."

Yes, this makes sense. Now drop off the You:

"It's ironic that her have gospel roots."

No. "It's ironic that she has gospel roots." Yes. (I changed the verb from have to has, because I'm talking only one person in this particular sentence, not two.)

So, the combination would be: "It's ironic that you and she have gospel roots."

Does that help?

Vinola
via stevehendersonfineart.com
What is the grammar for you and she.

Carolyn Henderson
via stevehendersonfineart.com
"You and she have gospel roots."

"This book is for you and her."









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