Him & Me Or He & I?

Our society is becoming increasingly visual. Not long ago, we relied on email and texting to communicate rapidly with others.  Today we have even more social media tools like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Periscope, among others and we rely on short and incomplete sentences to convey our thoughts.

One of the downsides an emphasis on visual communication, though, is sloppy grammar. That can lead to some embarrassing moments when conducting business.

In most business situations, the written word remains the preferred form of communication and permanence sometimes missing in visuals.  When mistakes in grammar, usage and spelling occur, they convey carelessness and a lack of professionalism.

Does anyone pay attention to grammar today? Yes. This is especially true with your well-educated clients.  Here are a few examples of common mistakes:

Incorrect: My partner and me can meet with you next Thursday.

Correct: My partner and I can meet with you next Thursday.

Incorrect: Me and my partner can meet with you next Thursday.

Correct: My partner and I can meet with you next Thursday.

Incorrect: I know the perfect lighting designer for your project. Him and his team have won many awards for their work.

Correct: I know the perfect lighting designer for your project. He and his team have won many awards for their work.

Incorrect: Him/her and me are meeting next week.

Correct: He/she and I are meeting next week.

Incorrect: Him/her and I are hungry.

Correct: He/she and I are hungry

Incorrect: They gave the books to him/her and myself.

Correct: They gave the books to person’s name and me.

In each instance where you would expect to find – pardon my grammar – the subjective pronoun (I, he, she, they) you encounter the objective pronoun (me, him, her, them) instead. To put it another way, you expect to find the horse (the person who is performing the action) but instead find the cart (the person who is being acted upon).

You can’t rely on word processing software to correct these mistakes.  Mine did not prompt me to revise the incorrect examples.

Using correct grammar may seem trivial, but it is a reflection of your education and sophistication.  Poor grammar creates a bad impression. Always take the time to proofread a written document before sending it, and if grammar isn’t your strong suit, then have someone else review your documents before sending them. Take care to correct your verbal grammar as well.

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Gail Doby

Gail, with her team at Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting, has helped more than 10,000 designers in 76 countries. Many of them have achieved amazing results... doubling, tripling (and more) their revenue and profit... with clarity and confidence. Gail and her team build one-of-a-kind experiences, walking beside Interior Designers to help them create and implement their plans.
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  1. Jason Titus on May 5, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    The mis-usage of I, he, she intermingled with me, him and her bugs me a lot. It is constant incorrect usage – as you indicated above – and by people who should know better.

  2. C. Haight on May 5, 2016 at 1:07 pm


  3. marianne on May 5, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you for posting this discussion. It is refreshing to read that someone else understands the value of a well-spoken exchange.

    • deborah on May 5, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      I totally agree. Grammar and spelling are of utmost importance! If incorrect, it can break you.

    • Adebisi Adetunji on June 18, 2019 at 12:13 am

      Very helpful post. I needed to confirm my correct use of the phrase, “He and his team”. Feels good Thank you for sharing.

  4. Kathryn Long on May 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Thank you! I will share with my business manager and brother in law. Luckily for our office, he has a Phd. in English. However, I’m sure more than one e mail has left this office with some incorrect grammar.

    It is very important. I have corrected more than one intern. These interns are usually beginning their senior year in college, yet continue to make some of the grammatical mistakes you mentioned. Also, I have tried to help some interns drop their habit of using the word “like” several times in every sentence.

    Thanks again, Kathryn Long, ASID

  5. Caroll-Ann Bainbridge on May 5, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I’ve noticed so many people using these incorrect terms and, being “old school”, wanted to correct them. Glad to see I’m not the only one is appreciates correct grammar/etiquette. It’s the little things that people notice that make you stand out. You appear far more professional, at least in business, if you pay attention to those things. Good article!

  6. Pam Conway on May 6, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Perhaps a couple of the writers should look at their replies. Spot the mistakes!

    • Maggie Cohen on May 12, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Hah! Very funny. Probably she/he was just rushing…as we all are!

  7. Linda Fredrickson on May 12, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    On the subject of grammar, I believe that the title of today’s feature article should be, “How to Handle Clients Who Shop You,” rather than “How to Handle Clients That Shop You.” “Who” refers to a person and “That ” refers to an object.

  8. Cynthia Taylor-Luce on July 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    What drives me crazy is when people say “you guys’s” as in “I’d like you guys’s opinion before I move forward”. Who in their right mind thinks this is right? I’ve heard it a lot on tv shows and I wish it could stop. What do you guys’s think about this one? lol

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