“In Modern English, I is the singular, first-person pronoun.
- I: the nominative (subjective) form
- I is the only pronoun form that is always capitalized in English. This practice became established in the late 15th century, though lowercase i was sometimes found as late as the 17th century.
- me: the accusative (objective) forms (The accusative case is also called the ‘oblique‘.)
- my: the dependent genitive (possessive) form
- mine: the independent genitive
- myself: the reflexive form
Old English had a first person pronoun the 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; 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-.
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
See also: Between you and I
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 some varieties of non-standard 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 non-standard 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