Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Aug 13 2012   5:39PM GMT

Me or I and the problem of overcorrection

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Would you like Joe and _______ to attend the Tweetup in New York next week?
a. me
b. myself
c. I


Answer: a.

Explanation:

To decide which pronoun you need here, just leave Joe home: “Would you like __ to attend the Tweetup in New York next week?” If you’d put  I in there, you need more help than I can give you. Myself? If you think that’s the correct answer, I don’t even want to know. Go back and read my many posts on me, myself and I until you’ve absorbed the lesson about referring to yourself AS myself and how it makes you look less intelligent than you might wish.

On the other hand, when you’ve already launched into a sentence and get to the point where you have to decide, it’s hard to stop and think. That’s when the drive to overcorrect leads people to often say I  because it seems like the more proper form. Funnily enough, it’s quite often people with typically good grammar that make that type of mistake. It’s what is sometimes called an overcorrection or incorrection. Essentially, it’s an error that is caused by correcting something that doesn’t need to be corrected (in this case, the tendency to say “me”), so that you end up making a mistake through the sheer fear of error.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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