We all have ties to our family one way or another. This means that we need functional ways to speak about our families, including ways that involve ourselves. When we do this, is it correct to say “me and my family”?
Instead of “me and my family,” it is best if you use “my family and me” to talk about you and your family as a collective unit. In English, we refer to ourselves second to be polite. You can use “my family and me” in the objective case, but if you want to use “me and my family” in the subjective case, you’ll need to write it as “my family and I.”
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the phrases “my family and me” and “my family and I” and discuss how you can apply them correctly.
What Does “Me and My Family” Mean?
If you say “me and my family,” you are referring to yourself and your family together. This means that the sentence’s verb, or action, applies to you and your family equally or as a collective unit.
The word “me” is a personal pronoun that takes the objective case (source). When you add “and my family” in conjunction with the word “me,” you must use the entire phrase in the objective case.
The conjunction in this phrase is “and.” When we use this word with “me and my family,” it creates the sense of a collective unit.
Contrastingly, if we used the conjunction “or” instead of “and,” the entire meaning of the sentence would change. In this case, we would apply the verb to either you or your family, but not both, as is the case with the conjunction “and.”
The pronoun “me” and the conjunction “and” are both key grammatical pieces of this phrase, and, as a result, they heavily influence the meaning of “me and my family.” Yet, if you swap the noun “me” and the noun phrase “my family,” the meaning of the sentence does not change.
Still, native English speakers prefer to use “my family and me” instead of “me and my family.”
Why Should You Use “My Family and Me” Instead?
In English, we refer to ourselves secondarily as a way to be polite and respectful. Because of this, you’ll find that it’s better to say “my family and me” instead of “me and my family.”
Denotatively, these phrases are identical, but connotatively, we consider “my family and me” to be the better option. This follows from the tradition that you should refer to yourself after you refer to the other relevant people.
When in doubt, you should refer to yourself second by using “my family and me” instead of “me and my family.”
In What Context Can You Use “My Family and Me”?
You can use “my family and me” in any context, though it may be most appropriate in more casual contexts.
Many native English speakers have mistakenly internalized incorrect rules surrounding the pronouns “I” and “me.” A lot of people believe that you must always say “my family and I” no matter what, even though this belief is incorrect.
This belief is so ubiquitous that, to many native speakers, it can sound “off” or “wrong” to say “my family and me,” even if you are correctly using the phrase as the object of a sentence. Because of this, some people may even try to correct your usage.
However, if you use the phrase as the object of a complete sentence, you are using it correctly. Still, if you want to avoid a potentially awkward interaction, it may be best to save this phrase for more casual contexts.
When Can You Use “My Family and Me”?
You can use the phrase “my family and me” when you are discussing something that applies to both you and your family equally.
Here are a few examples:
- The volunteers wanted to meet with my family and me.
- They praised my family and me for all the work we have done.
- Last week, the volunteers offered an award to my family and me.
In the first example, “the volunteers” wanted to meet with the entire family and the speaker of the sentence equally.
In the second example, “they” praise both the family and the speaker of the sentence for their collective work.
In the third example, “the volunteers” offered a single award to the whole family, including the speaker of the sentence.
With each of these examples, we use the verb, or the action of the sentence, in such a way that it applies equally to the family and the speaker.
How Do You Use “My Family and Me”?
You can use “my family and me” correctly by applying this phrase as the object of the sentence. Usually, you will use the phrase near the end of a sentence or at the end of a sentence.
English is an analytical language, so word order is an important method of conveying essential grammatical information. In English, the traditional word order is subject plus verb plus object.
Since we need to use “my family and me” as the object of the sentence, we cannot correctly begin a sentence with “my family and me.”
In the first two examples below, we have demonstrated how to use “my family and me” in the objective case. In the third example, we illustrate how to change the pronoun to make the phrase work in the subjective case.
- The president ate dinner with my family and me.
- The vice president also ate dinner with my family and me.
- My family and I would like to invite you to dinner.
When we use the personal pronoun “me” in conjunction with the phrase “and my family,” then we must use the full phrase, “my family and me,” as the object of the sentence.
If we want to change the phrase so that it works as the subject of the sentence, then we must change the personal pronoun from “me” to “I” (source).
Using “My Family and Me” in a Full Sentence
You can use “my family and me” as the direct object, indirect object, or object of the preposition of a full sentence.
As a brief review, a direct object receives the action of a verb (source). Let’s take a quick look at the following sample sentence: “Sarah offered the award.” Here, “Sarah” is the subject, and “offered” is the verb. The direct object is “the award” since it was the award that received the action of the verb.
Now, let’s add an indirect object to this example. An indirect object specifies “the person or thing that receives what is being given or done” (source). Here, the sentence now includes an indirect object: “Sarah offered my family and me the award.”
In this example, “my family and me” serves as the indirect object. This is because “my family and me” indicates the person who received the direct object (the award).
Direct objects and indirect objects will always follow the verb in a sentence. So, when you use “my family and me” in a full sentence, you will want to check that it comes towards the end of the sentence given traditional English word order.
Here are some additional sample sentences that include the phrase “my family and me.”
- I am planning a trip for my family and me.
- Our neighbors gave my family and me a casserole.
- The volunteers loved my family and me.
- Would you take a photo of my family and me?
- The cruise line offered my family and me a free vacation.
In all of the examples above, we use the phrase “my family and me” as the direct object, indirect object, or object of the preposition of the sentence.
When Not to Use “My Family and Me”
You should never use the phrase “my family and me” as the subject of a sentence.
If you were to begin a sentence with “my family and me,” most English speakers would immediately notice that you are using the phrase incorrectly. Unfortunately, using “me” as the subject can make you sound unintelligent and prompt other people to make unfair judgments.
In popular culture, writers of various English films and T.V. shows have used this language error to make a character appear provincial or ignorant.
As an example, if a character were to say, “Me think we should go on a walk,” the English audience would automatically assume this character lacks basic knowledge of the English language.
Every language comes with a certain amount of inherent bias, and each culture has sets of breakable and unbreakable rules that govern the application of their language.
In English, we never use “me” as the subject. It is an unbreakable rule that we must use “I” as the subjective pronoun. To avoid negative opinions and unwanted bias from native English speakers, you should avoid using “my family and me” as the sentence’s subject.
What Can You Use Instead of “Me and My Family”?
The best alternatives to “me and my family” are “my family and me” and “my family and I.” While these phrases are identical in meaning, the key difference is that we must use “my family and me” in the objective case and “my family and I” in the subjective case.
Here are some examples where we used the alternative phrase “my family and I” as the subject of the sentence.
- My family and I donated $500.
- My family and I traveled to Utah.
- When it comes to the holidays, my family and I participate in many traditions.
- If you love baking cookies, my family and I have some excellent recipes we can share.
In each of the examples, we used “my family and I” in the subjective case. The first two sentences clearly depict the traditional subject-plus-verb-plus-object sentence order. The latter two examples are a little trickier.
In the last two examples, we began each sentence with a dependent clause. To find the dependent clause of each sentence, you can use the commas to make it clearer since the commas separate the dependent clauses from the main independent clauses.
“When it comes to the holidays” and “If you love baking cookies” are both dependent clauses. They give additional information that builds upon the primary clause of each sentence.
The dependent clauses do not change the primary subject of the sentence, which is still “my family and I.” Naturally, we cannot use this phrase to end a sentence since it has to function in the subjective case.
Subjective vs. Objective Pronoun Case
In English, pronouns can take one of three cases, and you must use pronouns in the correct case; otherwise, your sentences could be very confusing. The three pronoun cases are the subjective case, the objective case, and the possessive case.
We use subjective pronouns as the subject of a sentence, objective pronouns as the object of a sentence, and possessive pronouns to indicate possession (source).
When you use a pronoun as the subject of a sentence, you must make sure that you are using a subjective pronoun. In turn, when you use a pronoun as the object of a sentence, you must make sure that you are using an objective pronoun.
In the table below, you will find a list of the subjective and objective pronouns in English.
|Subjective Case||Objective Case|
|He, She, It||Him, Her, It|
Now, let’s cover how you can use each of these in a sentence. In the table below, we have used each pronoun in a simple sentence.
|Subjective Case||Objective Case|
|I love reading.||Sally read to me.|
|You told me that already.||Did Mark apologize to you?|
|He loves parties.She prefers to stay in. It isn’t my birthday.||I gave him a gift.I talked to her.What did you do with it?|
|We will be there!||They invited us.|
|They also invited their neighbors.||I will let them know.|
|Who is on the guest list?||You offered an invite to whom?|
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Again, English sentences follow the order of subject-verb-object. To learn more about subjective and objective pronouns, check out the article, “You and I or You and Me: Understanding the Correct Use of these Pronouns”!
In English, we alter our selected pronouns to accurately reflect the appropriate case. These changes convey vital grammatical information that can make or break a sentence.
When it comes to subjective and objective pronouns, you must be careful to always use “I” as the subject and “me” as the object. While this might seem straightforward, it can get murky, as you have seen, when we attach pronouns to larger phrases.
To determine which pronoun is best, we suggest that you practice identifying the subject, verb, and object of sentences. This will help you apply subjective and objective pronouns correctly.