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Lucas Fink

Common SAT Mistakes: “and I” vs. “and me”

The stereotypical English teacher has a few grammar rule favorites, some of which are, unfortunately, not even real rules.

Do you remember the childhood saying “step on a crack, break your mother’s back”? Imagine if that was so ubiquitous (a good SAT word—look it up!) that everyone repeated it any time you stepped on a sidewalk crack, even now? And what if they believed it?

Although it’s not quite to that extreme, the sad truth is that some “common knowledge” about English grammar isn’t so different. It’s been repeated and repeated and repeated, but it’s pretty much just a myth. And the SAT does not peddle in myths.


My friend and I? My friend and me?

This is an SAT favorite. It’s shown up on a number of tests, and it’s a perfect trap for anybody who trusted their 8th grade English teacher just a little too much. There is, admittedly, plenty of truth in the rule: When you’re listing other people as well as yourself, I or me should come last. Think of it as being polite and holding the door for the other names.


But notice I said “or me.” When the names are the subject, use I. If they are not—a notable example being after prepositions—then use me, the object form. If we always used I when making lists of people, we’d be confusing subjects and objects.

My pinkie toe and I have been through some hard times.

The world is against my pinkie toe and I.

A polar bear ate my pinkie toe and I.


That second example comes after a preposition (against) and should take the object form, me.  “And I” can be wrong even without the preposition, though, as long as those two or more people are objects in the sentence, as in the third example above. The correct forms are:

The world is against my pinkie toe and me.

A polar bear ate my pinkie toe and me.


By the same token, don’t start a sentence with “… and me”.

My pinkie toe and me fought off a polar bear.

My pinkie toe and I fought off a polar bear.


Just focus on whether or not it’s the subject of the sentence. If that distinction isn’t clear for you, then take out the other player (e.g. “my pinkie toe”) and see how it sounds. That’s the best method to decide. Saying “A polar bear ate I” sounds good to approximately nobody, so don’t write it—even if there’s a pinkie toe that comes first.

And if it’s still a bit unclear, then you can roughly assume that I is more likely correct near the beginning of the sentence, while me is more common at the middle or end.


P.S. Ready to get your highest SAT score? Start here.
About Lucas Fink

Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.

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