Pronouns (I, me, he, him) confuse many people. Read the following sentence. Is it right or wrong?
My father taught my brothers and me many important lessons about life.
If you said that the sentence is right, you’re probably a college graduate – maybe even an English major. Yes, the sentence is correct, even though many people would insist (mistakenly) that it should be “my brothers and I.” (To many people, “I” sounds more elegant than “me,” and they overuse it.)
A grammarian would say that taught is a transitive verb, taking the objective case. So you need “me,” not “I,” in this sentence.
But let’s be Writing Revolutionaries and skip the jargon. There’s an easy way to get sentences like this one right every time. Just use your thumb to make the sentence shorter.
Here’s how: Go back to the original sentence and cover up “my brothers and” with your thumb. This is what you end up with:
My father taught me many important lessons about life.
You can hear that “me” is right. So here’s the corrected sentence:
My father taught my brothers and me many important lessons about life. CORRECT
Just for fun, let’s do the same thing with “I.” Cover up “my brothers and.” This is what you get:
My father taught I many important lessons about life. WRONG
Doesn’t sound right, does it? You need “me” in this sentence, not “I.”
Let’s try one more:
In July my best friend and I will be going to Mexico for two weeks.
Cover “my best friend and.” Here’s what’s left:
I will be going to Mexico for two weeks.
Sounds right! So your sentence is correct:
In July my best friend and I will be going to Mexico for two weeks. CORRECT
Take your thumb with you wherever you go. It’s a great language tool!
Just kidding. But this “Thumb Rule” trick works every time. You can download a free handout that explains pronoun rules at this link.