[ Note from Design Mom: although Guest Mom gigs typically last a week around here, an Ask-Guest-Mom question came in from a DM reader and Kacy graciously composed an answer so I could post it today. How lucky are we? Thanks for extending your stay, Kacy. ]
Ask Guest Mom Question:
I was just wondering if maybe Guest Mom Kacy Faulconer could give us the rules on the usuage of “me,” “myself” and “I.” These three words have really been on my mind lately. It seems to me that many times people are so scared of using the word “me” that they use “I” and “myself” incorrectly. Then I think, “Well, maybe I’m the one in the wrong here, and I don’t know how the words should be used.” Thus the reason, I thought Kacy could clear this up for me, since she’s an English professor and all. Have a great day! —Kendra (aka Namona)
Using me, myself, and I can be confusing if you think too much about it. Most people instinctively have an ear for what sounds right. The rules are thus:
Use me as the object of a preposition or verb. “She’s not ugly, like me” or “Show me.” It’s actually acceptable after as, then, and be verbs. “He is so much happier than me” or “You’ll never be as smart as me!” are ok. So is, “Surprise—it’s me!”
Remember, however, that in writing and on more formal occasions you should probably use I with as, then and be. Note: This does not give you license to be obnoxious and correct people because that is ungracious in a way that sloppy grammar is not. Just think to yourself, “With regards to grammar they are much worse than I.”
I is easy, if you don’t get too picky. It’s the pronoun. If you can replace it with your name and you are the subject of the sentence then it’s probably right. “Kacy like cake”= “I like cake.” “Ben and Kacy wore their pajamas all day”= “Ben and I wore our pajamas all day.”
Just between you and me, saying me sometimes even when it’s wrong is kind of endearing and lends a conversational tone when you want it.
Myself is a weird one. People say it when they mean me or I but want to add something a little fancier. This bugs myself, personally—although it is technically acceptable: “Ben and myself opted to remain in our sleeping attire for the duration of the day, regrettably.”
Normally you use myself reflexively. Examples of this are always a little questionable but here goes: “I gave myself a nice rubdown.”
If this sort of thing interests you, there are many more rules and descriptions of correct usage for these words. You can memorize them all! If not, go by what sounds right. Good luck. I’ve got to get me* clothes on.
*Using me for my is chiefly associated with Irish dialect; it is used humorously by others as well.