- I: the nominative (subjective[i]) form
- me: the accusative (objective[i]) forms (The accusative case is also called the 'oblique'.: 146 )
- my: the dependent genitive (possessive[i]) form
- mine: the independent genitive
- myself: the reflexive form
Old English had a first person pronoun that inflected for four cases and three numbers. I originates from Old English (OE) ic, which had in turn originated from the continuation of Proto-Germanic *ik, and ek; The asterisk denotes an unattested form, but ek was attested in the Elder Futhark inscriptions (in some cases notably showing the variant eka; see also ek erilaz). Linguists assume ik to have developed from the unstressed variant of ek. Variants of ic were used in various English dialects up until the 1600s. The Proto-Germanic root came, in turn, from the Proto Indo-European language (PIE) *eg-.
|Early OE||Late OE||ME||Early||Late||ME||Early||Late||ME|
Old English me and mec are from Proto-Germanic *meke (accusative) and *mes (dative). Mine is from Proto-Germanic *minaz, and my is a reduced form of mine. All of these are from PIE root *me-.
- Subject: I'm here; me being here; my being there; I paid for myself to be here.
- Object: She saw me; She introduced him to me; I saw myself.
- Predicative complement: The only person there was me / I.
- Dependent determiner: I met my friend.
- Independent determiner: This is mine.
- Adjunct: I did it myself.
- Modifier: the me generation
The above applies when the pronoun stands alone as the subject or object. In some varieties of English (particularly in formal registers), those rules also apply in coordinative constructions such as "you and I".
- "My husband and I wish you a merry Christmas."
- "Between you and me..."
In many dialects of informal English, the accusative is sometimes used when the pronoun is part of a coordinative subject construction, as in
- "Phil and me wish you a merry Christmas."
This is stigmatized but common in many dialects.
- Relative clause modifier: the me I'd like to be; *me I'd like to be
- Determiner: the me I'd like to be; *the me
- Adjective phrase modifier: the real me
- Adverb phrase external modifier: Not even me
According to the OED, the following pronunciations are used:
- Terminological note:
Authorities use different terms for the inflectional (case) forms of the personal pronouns, such as the oblique-case form me, which is used as a direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition, as well as other uses. For instance, one standard work on English grammar, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, uses the term objective case, while another, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, uses the term accusative case. Similarly, some use the term nominative for the form I, while others use the term subjective. Some authorities use the term genitive for forms such as my where others use the term possessive. Some grammars refer to my and mine, respectively, as the dependent genitive and the independent genitive, while others call my a possessive adjective and mine a possessive pronoun.
- Other pronouns may be capitalized when referring to the Deity ("God's in His heaven") and, of course, when beginning a sentence. The capitalization of the first person pronoun is distinctive of English, although it is common in other languages to capitalize a second person pronoun, for example Sie in German, Ce in Kashubian, Cię in Polish, and Anda in Indonesian.
- Fowler 2015.
- Lass, Roger, ed. (1999). The Cambridge history of the English Language: Volume III 1476–1776. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- "i | Origin and meaning of the name i by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
- OED online.
- Hogg, Richard, ed. (1992). The Cambridge history of the English language: Volume I The beginnings to 1066. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Blake, Norman, ed. (1992). The Cambridge history of the English Language: Volume II 1066–1476. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- "me | Search Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
- "mine | Origin and meaning of mine by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
- "my | Origin and meaning of my by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002, pp. 462–463.
- "Oxford English Dictionary Online".
- Fowler, H.W. (2015). Butterfield, Jeremy (ed.). Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-966135-0.
- Huddleston, Rodney; Pullum, Geoffrey (2002). The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43146-8.
- "Etymology of I". etymonline.com. Douglas Harper, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2010.[unreliable source?]
- "Etymology of Me". etymonline.com. Douglas Harper, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2010.[unreliable source?]
- Halleck, Elaine (editor). "Sum: Pronoun "I" again". LINGUIST List 9.253., n.p., Web. 20 Feb. 1998.[unreliable source?]
- Jacobsen, Martin (editor). "Sum: Pronoun 'I'". LINGUIST List 9.253., n.p., Web. 20 Feb. 1998.[unreliable source?]
- Mahoney, Nicole. "Language Change Archived 2017-08-29 at the Wayback Machine". nsf.gov. n.p. 12 July 2008. Web. 21 Dec. 2010
- Wells, Edward. "Further Elucidation on the Capitalization of 'I' in English". (a paper in progress). Lingforum.com. n.p., Web. 25 Dec. 2010[unreliable source?]
- Howe, Stephen (1996). The personal pronouns in the Germanic languages: a study of personal pronoun morphology and change in the Germanic languages from the first records to the present day. Studia linguistica Germanica. Vol. 43. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-014636-3.
- Gaynesford, M. de (2006). I: The Meaning of the First Person Term. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-928782-1..
- Wales, Katie (1996). Personal pronouns in present-day English. Studies in English language. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-47102-8.