A Girl Like I

By Maeve Maddox

A reader writes

I know you have written on this issue before, but I see the problem has arisen even in your latest message. You say “For those of you who, like me, hadn’t heard of SI symbols, you’ll find a list here.”
“Like me???”  My husband and I have been arguing over the use of “me and/or I” daily. I would say “like me,” and he says, “like I.” I have a sinking feeling he is grammatically correct.  Answer please?

I wish all grammar questions were as easy to answer as this one.

It’s never, ever correct to say “like I.”

In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe plays a blonde bimbo (what else?)  One of her conversational character tags is “like I?” When the movie came out in 1953, the audience was expected to laugh when she said it.

“Like” is a preposition. Prepositions ALWAYS take an object. The object form of “I” is “me.”

I’m sorry to learn that even one person thinks that “like I” is a grammatical possibility in standard English.

The incorrect use of “I” in compound objects after the preposition “to” has been around for some time now. For example: They were very kind to Michelle and I.

Putting another’s name in front of the pronoun does not change the fact that “to” is a preposition and requires an object form: They were very kind to Michelle and me.

I hope that this incorrect use of “I” after like doesn’t make the strides in popular speech that it has after transitive verbs.

34 Responses to “A Girl Like I”

  • Maeve

    CW: No, I wouldn’t say “like me is.” I’d say “As I am.”
    Connie: For me, “…like I do” is nonstandard. As Judy points out, the preferred form would be, “…as I do.”

  • CW

    Would you say “like me is ?”
    If “like” is used as a synonym for “similar to,” it takes “me.”
    If “like” is used as a synonym for “such as,” it takes “I” followed by “am” for audio-cosmetic purposes.

  • Judy Boyer

    The problem with using “like I” is not the I, but the like. Like isn’t a conjunction “as” is. So, a sentence should read, ” He is as much of a gentleman as I.” Problem? Sadly, no one in this century speaks that way.

  • connie

    “…like I do” makes sense, right?

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