Our school teachers and parents misled us! They reprimanded us countless times when we said, “Me and Billy are going to the lolly shop.” “Billy and I,” they corrected.

That in itself was fair enough, but the effect on many people is they no longer dare say, “Billy and me”, or “my wife and me” – ever, and that’s a problem. Those parents and teachers have caused lots of grammatical grief.

“My wife and I had a delightful weekend at the beach.” We know that’s OK: it has good word order (‘my wife’ first) and ‘my wife and I’ are the subject of the sentence. But what about if we turned it around and said, “It was a delightful weekend at the beach for my wife and I”? Now this is not OK, but many many traumatised adults say it. It should instead be ‘my wife and me’.

So here’s the tip

When in doubt, take the wife out of the equation, and see if you would naturally say ‘I’ or ‘me’. This is a great trick. “It was a delightful weekend at the beach for I,” sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? (You can put the wife back in now, or you’ll be in trouble.)

I read the other day, “The last month has been somewhat of a life-changing time for my wife and I.” There we go again: take the wife out, and you’ll immediately hear that should be ‘me’.

I or me: examples

X  Our friends gave an anniversary present to my wife and I.

 Our friends gave an anniversary present to my wife and me. (They gave it to me.)

X John was away, so it was a quiet weekend for the kids and I.

John was away, so it was a quiet weekend for the kids and me. (… a quiet weekend for me.)

X The company hired Robert and I.

The company hired Robert and me. (They hired me.)

Robert and I applied for a job with the company.

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