5 Ways to Instantly Sound Smarter, Part 4

Back when I was teaching English, I used to describe grammar like this:

Imagine that instead of a writer or speaker, you’re a painter. Now, in order for anyone to know how talented you are, they’re going to have to see your paintings!

But here’s the thing: if you hang your paintings in a fancy Manhattan art gallery, your work is going to come across a lot more valuable than if you hide everything at the bottom of your closet.

How you present your work matters.

And guess what?

Your grammar is how you present your ideas.

Your ideas remain the same no matter how you present them — just like the paintings remain the same whether they’re in a fancy art gallery or at the bottom of your closet.

But just like there is greater value associated with the work in the art gallery, there is also greater value placed on ideas presented with good grammar.

I’m not saying that’s right or fair, mind you. But in today’s world, that’s just how it is.

With all that in mind, today’s podcast is all about pronoun problems!

Specifically, people mixing up their pronouns at the beginning of a sentence, saying things like:

“Me and him went to the store.”

“Me and her are going to catch a movie later.”


I have to admit it: when I hear people say things like that, it’s like they’re forcing me to smell the dirty socks at the bottom of their closet while looking at their painting. I could appreciate their ideas so much more if they were presented a little better!

The trick to fixing this little error is twofold:

First, always put the other person before yourself.

So it will NEVER be “Me and so-and-so,” but “So-and-so and I.” I think of it like holding open the door for someone, but grammatically. It’s good grammar manners?

Second, to determine whether it’s him/he, her/she, or me/I simply take the other person out of the sentence.

For instance, using the example above, would it be “Him went to the store” or “He went to the store?”

HE! Just like it would be “I went to the store,” not “Me went to the store.”

So that sentence SHOULD read, “He and I went to the store.”

Here’s a little trick: At the beginning of a sentence, you’re usually going to use the pronouns he/she/I, but you can always use the replacement trick above to double check!

If you’re more of an auditory learner or just want to add another sense, be sure to check out episode 17 of the Vocabbett podcast. You can listen on your favorite player, or simply hit play below!

Keep Going!

5 Ways to Instantly Sound Smarter, Part 1 (in case you missed it!)

5 Ways to Instantly Sound Smarter, Part 2 (in case you missed it!)

5 Ways to Instantly Sound Smarter, Part 3 (in case you missed it!)

5 Ways to Instantly Sound Smarter, Part 5