Me vs. Myself – What’s the Difference?

Pronouns are an important building block of all but the most simple sentences in English. There are many different pronouns, and they can be used in a variety of situations.

Personal pronouns in particular are the subject of fierce debate in some circles, due to their ability to both reinforce and eliminate perceived sexism in the language.

The pronouns we are concerned with here, though, are ungendered, and therefore receive less attention. Many writers are unsure whether to choose me or myself in certain contexts, since they can each be used as an object that refers back to the speaker of a sentence.

In the following discussion, I will clarify the differences between these words, so you will always know when to use each one.

What is the Difference Between Me and Myself?

In this article, I will compare me vs. myself, and I will use each of them in multiple example sentences to illustrate their proper grammatical role.

Plus, I will show you a mnemonic that will help you choose between these pronouns in your own writing.

When to Use Me

me versus myself What does me mean? Me is a personal pronoun that refers to one’s own self. Specifically, it is an objective pronoun. Me takes the function of an object in sentences.

For example,

  • “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were talking to me,” said the woman at the bar.
  • “Give me that ax!” bellowed the quartermaster.
  • “That jerk punched me in the face; he deserved what I did to him,” the man told the police officer.
  • Ten members of the Ukrainian secret service came looking for me last Friday. –The Wall Street Journal

Many people confuse the pronouns I and me. I, of course, is a subject pronoun, while me is a object pronoun. For a full discussion on these two pronouns, see here.

When to Use Myself

Definition of myself definition and definition of me definition What does myself mean? Myself is also a pronoun that refers to the speaker, although it is a different kind of pronoun than me.

Myself is a reflexive pronoun, meaning the speaker or writer would use it self-referentially. In other words, myself is used when the speaker both performs and receives the verb’s action.

For example,

  • “I like to describe myself as an introvert, who has extroverted tendencies as well,” explained Mary.
  • I care for myself by running every morning, avoiding unhealthy foods, and getting plenty of sleep at night.
  • “I hurt myself falling down the stairs,” said Joel.
  • I do, in fact, consider myself a work-hard, play-hard sort of girl. –The New York Times

Myself can also be used intensively, like in these examples,

  • “I, myself, like a little sugar in my coffee from time to time,” said the wizened old cartographer.
  • “Why would I pay someone to build me a shed when I could do it myself?” asked the amateur carpenter.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define myself and define me Now, let’s go over a trick to remember myself vs. me.

Given that me and myself are both pronouns, and can both function as the object of a verb, choosing the correct one is not always easy. They are used in different ways, though.

  • Me is a personal pronoun.
  • Myself is either a reflexive pronoun, or an intensive pronoun.

In general, when the speaker is the object of a verb, but not the subject, choose me. When the speaker is both the subject and the object of a verb, choose myself. Since myself and subject both contain the letter S, this should be an easy rule to remember.

Summary

Is it me or myself? Me and myself are both pronouns that refer to the speaker of a sentence.

  • Me is a personal pronoun.
  • Myself is a reflexive pronoun.
  • Myself can also be used as an intensive pronoun.

When the speaker is the object of a verb but not the subject performing the verb, use me. When the speaker is both the subject and the object, choose myself instead. You can remember this rule by remembering that myself and subject are each spelled with the letter S.

Don’t forget—any time you have questions about writing, you can check this site for answers. And if you are ever stuck choosing myself or me, you can check back with this article.