Me, Myself, and I
Updated: Nov 17, 2018
This week it's all about me. Or is it I? Or even... myself??
The easiest way to remember the difference is to remove the other person from the sentence. Then change your pronoun to whatever makes the most sense. Watch:
Step One: Start with your sentence: My colleague and me are working on that deliverable.
Step Two: Take out the other person: me are working on that deliverable.
Step Three: Check if it makes sense: Me are working on that deliverable does not make sense. You would say I am working on that deliverable.
Step Four: Change it: To correct the original sentence, you would write, My colleague and I are working on that deliverable.
So when is it appropriate to use myself?
Myself is what's called a reflexive pronoun. That is, it reflects on to you. So you'd say things like "I see myself in the mirror" and "I'm going to treat myself."
Similar to the rampant misuse of the word whom, the word myself is often overused. I see lots of constructions like this one: Please contact the manager or myself with questions. Blech.
The same rule applies here. If you take out "manager" you'd be saying "Please contact myself with questions." That sounds weird, right? Because you would naturally say Please contact me with questions. So, just stick with "me": Please contact the manager or me with questions. (Notice that you also wouldn't use I in this sentence.)
How many of you always thought using "me" in a sentence was grammatically incorrect? 🙋♀️ If you're with me on this one, it will sound really weird the first few times you use it. Don't worry, you're doing it right.
When you are the one performing the action and you're doing it to yourself, it's OK to use myself. This same rule applies to other reflexive pronouns like himself/herself.
Bottom line: if you're unsure whether to say me, myself, or I, simply remove the other person(s) from the sentence and see if the sentence still makes sense. And, if you're saying myself, like, a lot, you might be using it incorrectly.