Mistakes connecting first-person pronouns “I” and “me” to another noun such as “dad” with a conjunction have been increasing exponentially for years. For instance, would you correct someone who says something like “Dad and me are ready to go”? Is it “dad and me” or “dad and I”?
Use “Dad and I” as the subject of a sentence and “dad and me” as the object of a sentence, since “I” is a nominative (subject) pronoun, and “me” is an objective pronoun. An objective pronoun serves as the direct or indirect object of a verb or as the object of a preposition. Ideally, a subject pronoun will perform an action, while an objective pronoun will receive the action except in passive voice sentences.
If you are still feeling confused, this article provides easy methods to figure out the appropriate time to use each first-person pronoun with the noun “dad.”
“Dad and Me” or “Dad and I:” Understanding Grammar and Proper Usage
Every pronoun in a sentence has its own function, and they change form when they change cases. A noun case is a form of a pronoun or noun that shows its use in a sentence.
There are three different cases: subjective, objective, and possessive. The chart below illustrates the different forms among the cases:
|1st person singular||I||Me||My, mine|
|2nd person singular||You||You||Your, yours|
|3rd person singular||He|
|1st person plural||We||Us||Our, ours|
|2nd person plural||You||You||Your, yours|
|3rd person plural||They||Them||Their, theirs|
You have to pick the correct pronoun to get the correct answer. Your first step is to differentiate a subjective pronoun from an objective pronoun, but the differences might be more recognizable than you think.
“I”: The Subject
Subjective or nominative pronouns can either be the subject of an action verb or the complement of a being verb. In active voice sentences, the subject performs the action.
In the following example, “I” is the subject performing the action of going to the store.
- I went to the store.
You can also use “I” as a predicate nominative after the verb. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a predicate nominative is an adjective or a noun that goes after a linking verb to complete its meaning, and it has to be in the nominative case (source).
For instance, “I” is the complement of the verb “to be” in the sentence below:
- It was I who brought the cookies to the Christmas party.
This pronoun usage may sound unusual since many people informally say, “It’s me.” However, using the pronoun “I” in this specific way is grammatically correct and preferable in formal English (source).
“Me”: The Object
Objective or accusative pronouns are often objects of a verb in a sentence, either as direct or indirect objects. The verb of a sentence affects each of them differently.
Direct objects receive the action of the verb, while indirect objects receive the action of the direct object (source). Indirect objects are nouns or pronouns to or for whom/what an action is completed. A noun is an indirect object if you can place “to” or “for” before it without altering its meaning.
- The sales clerk gave (to) my sister and (to) me some interesting ideas for Grandma’s gift.
You can also use an object pronoun after prepositions. An example sentence would be “Steve can play video games with Andy and me.” Here, the pronoun “me” is an object of the preposition “with.”Objects of a preposition are nouns, noun phrases, or pronouns that follow a preposition and complete its meaning.
Removing the words “Dad” and “and” from the sentence might help you focus better on the action of the pronoun. The following table shows how to do so.
|Sentence||Removing “Dad” + “and”||Correct First-Person Pronoun||Answer||Case|
|Dad and(I/me) love to watch old sci-fi movies.||(I/me) love to watch old sci-fi movies.||I||Dad and I love to watch old sci-fi movies.||Nominative“I” is the subject.|
|It costs dad and (I/me) fifty dollars to make an international call.||It costs (I/me) fifty dollars to make an international call.||Me||It costs dad and me fifty dollars to make an international call.||Objective“me” is the indirect object|
|The dean invited dad and (I/me) to a tour of the university today.||The dean invited (I/me) to a tour of the university today.||Me||The dean invited dad and me to a tour of the university today.||Objective“me” is the direct object|
|It was Dad and (I/me) who brought and decorated the Christmas tree.||It was (I/me) who brought and decorated the Christmas tree.||I||It was Dad and I who brought and decorated the Christmas tree.||Nominative“I” is the complement of the verb to be.|
|The snowstorm left Dad and (I/ me) shivering all night.||The snowstorm left (I/ me) shivering all night.||Me||The snowstorm left Dad and me shivering all night.||Objective“Me” is the Indirect object.|
Although removing the words “dad” and “and”’ might be an easy way to figure out the correct pronoun, it might not be the best method for every sentence. The next two methods should always give you a clear answer right away.
Once you are familiar with using each first-person pronoun, you can easily determine which case to use by identifying each part of the sentence. You can do it in three simple steps.
First, identify the subject, verb, and object in the sentence:
- The subject indicates whom or what the sentence is about.
- The verb tells what the subject is or does.
- The object is the person or thing accepting the action of the verb.
Here is an example: Mom hugged Dad and me.
Note: “Dad” and “Me” are direct objects in this sentence. Therefore, the case is objective.
The next step is to identify the independent clause and the dependent clause. The independent clause expresses a complete thought, making sense all by itself.
Example: Dad and I discussed the plays of William Shakespeare.
Note: “Dad” and “I” both perform the action in the sentence, so the case is nominative.
The dependent clause depends upon additional information to complete a thought. It cannot stand by itself.
Example: If you need a ride home, call Dad or me.
Note: The pronoun is in the object position, so the case is objective.
Lastly, identify any prepositions. Prepositions are words that show us the relationship between a noun or pronoun and another word, such as “with,” “at,” “by,” “to,” “in,” “for,” “from,” “of,” “on.”
For instance: My little brother Michael came to the premiere of the latest superhero movie with Dad and me on December 16th.
Note: The case is objective because the pronoun is an object of the preposition.
How Do You Write “Dad and I” in a Sentence?
If you want to use “Dad and I” in a sentence, make sure you can ask “who” after the verb. Here are a couple of example sentences:
Dad and I went to the shopping mall.
- Question: Who went to the shopping mall?
- Answer: Dad and I.
Dad and I will go work out at the gym tomorrow.
- Question: Who will go work out at the gym tomorrow?
- Answer: Dad and I.
The case is nominative. “Dad” and “I” are both the subjects in the sentences.
How Do You Write “Dad and Me” in a Sentence?
If you want to use “Dad and me” instead, make sure you can ask to whom or what the verb’s action directs to find the direct object. Look at this sentence, for instance:
The family dog listens to Dad and me.
- Question: The family dog listens to whom?
- Answer: Dad and me.
Therefore, they are the direct objects.
If you think a pronoun is an indirect object, ask yourself “to whom/what” or “for whom/what” the writer intends the direct object. An example would be:
Uncle Joey bought Dad and me a car.
- Question 1: Uncle Joey bought what?
- Answer 1: He bought a car. (“Car” is the direct object. )
- Question 2: He bought a car for whom?
- Answer 2: Dad and me.
So “Dad” and “me” are indirect objects.
There is an exception to the rule: a pronoun we use as the subject of an infinitive is in the objective case. For example, which pronoun would you choose for the following sentence below?
- Grandpa expects dad and (I, me) to make gumbo and rolls for dinner.
The correct personal pronoun is “me” because it is the subject of the infinitive “to make.”
Is It Better to Say “My Dad and Me” or “Me and My Dad”?
“Dad” is a common noun that is the informal meaning of a father (source). Although you can introduce your father as “Dad” as a proper noun, it is more acceptable to use the first-person singular possessive personal pronoun “my” in front of it when speaking or writing formally.
You also don’t need to capitalize the noun “dad” when connecting it to a pronoun. Consider the following:
- My dad is the sweetest dad in the whole world.
- James is his name, and he is my dad.
Is It Correct to Say “Dad and I” When Speaking Formally?
English grammar is not always straightforward, especially when speaking or writing formally and informally. There are some noteworthy exceptions to using the incorrect pronoun for sentences that only work with one specific case.
In formal writing, you should use “I” instead of “me” in compound subjects, especially for essays, theses, applications, or cover letters. Here are a couple of examples:
Sentence: (I/me), and Dad would like to thank our partners and sponsors for their support.
- Incorrect: Me and Dad would like to thank our partners and sponsors for their support.
- Correct: Dad and I would like to thank our partners and sponsors for their support.
Sentence: My professor and (I/me) are going to attend a conference tomorrow at 8:00.
- Incorrect: My professor and me are going to attend a conference tomorrow at 8:00.
- Correct: My professor and I are going to attend a conference tomorrow at 8:00.
Formal vs. Informal Use
“Me” is acceptable for informal use. For instance, you can use “me” instead of “I” in a compound object because it can complete the meaning of a verb or a preposition. Here are a few examples.
- They have invited Dad and me to the party.
- Mom expects Dad and me to clean the garage this weekend.
- This comic book was written by my dad and me.
- Here are some flowers from Dad and me.
We generally use object pronouns like “me” in comparisons using “than” and “as.” Still, some native speakers prefer to use a subject pronoun like “I,” particularly in formal contexts. Either pronoun is acceptable, with “me” often as the more natural choice. Here are some examples
- Dad is taller than me.
- Dad is taller than I (am).
- Dad is as goofy and nerdy as me.
- Dad is as goofy and nerdy as I (am).
We also generally follow the word “like” with “me.” For instance:
- Yeah, I know. Dad laughs just like me.
- My dad is a freelance writer like me.
Please remember that even if the subjective pronoun “I” follows a conjunction and the objective pronoun “me” follows a preposition, “I” is preferable in formal usage and can also help introduce a clause with new information. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Look at the following examples:
- Acceptable: My brother is taller than me.
- Formal: He is taller than I was as a child.
- Acceptable: You are just as funny as me.
- Formal: You are just funny as I am.
Personal Pronouns and the Nominative vs. Objective Case
Objective personal pronouns like “me,” “you,” “him,” “her,” “it,” “us,” and “them” will serve as the object of a verb or preposition. In contrast, a nominative personal pronoun like “I,” “you,” “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” “they” will perform an action while an objective pronoun will receive that action except in passive voice sentences.
For more on pronouns in the nominative and objective case, make sure you read “Plural of Who: Understanding Who, Whose and Whom.”
You can make the right choice between “Dad and I” and “Dad and me” every time with a little practice and careful consideration about following these tips and tricks. Remember that we use “Dad and I” for the nominative case and “Dad and me” for the objective case.
Always remember that It’s fine to bend the rules when speaking casually to friends and family members, but it is important to be diligent about using the correct grammar in formal writing.