SAT Grammar: I vs. Me

By Brian D.


It can get tricky trying to determine when to use either “I” or “me.” Thankfully once you get exposed to enough of these questions, you’ll start to develop and eye detecting the subtle differences. I’m going to briefly describe some quick ways in which you can differentiate these two.

First, use your ear and your common sense. If something does not sound right or looks awkward, it probably is. But be sure not to overthink it.

You would use “me” when you are receiving an action. You may or may not be the subject. For example,

·      He threw the football to me.

·      He gave me my paycheck.

·      My friends threw me a surprise party.

·      That rude stranger stepped on me without even apologizing.

In all four instances, you are receiving the action. You are receiving the football, given a paycheck, thrown a party, and stepped on. You are not the one performing these actions. “Me” is used passively, when you are receiving and not doing.


“I,” on the other hand, is used when you are the subject performing the action.

·      Here I am, typing up this article for you to read and study for the SAT.

·      I went out yesterday to get some groceries.

·      I just came back from a marathon and almost won.

Contrary to the cases with “me,” you are the one who is doing all of the actions. You also happen to be the subject. “I” is active, used when you are executing an action.


There are also many cases when a sentence comes down to “and me” or “and I.” In this case, take out the extraneous subjects. Then substitute the sentence with both options and look for which one sounds better or makes more sense. Let’s look at an example.

·      Joey is talking to Sam and me/I

Sam is the extraneous subject, so we’ll remove him (no offense to any Sam’s reading this)

·      Joey is talking to me.

·      Joey is talking to I.

Which one is correct? If you chose “Joey is talking to me,” then you’re correct. You are the one being talked to, not the one doing the speaking.