I was encouraging my students to speak English. I was asking a question: Who wants to sing a song? Say I.

Another teacher stopped me, "You should've say; Say me."

Which one is correct?


Better than either would be "Who wants to sing a song? Say 'I do'." This gives a complete response. If you want a very short response then "Say 'me'" is better.

This is a rather unnatural situation. Native speakers of English don't need to be told how to answer the question. In a sentence, the proper response would be "I want to sing a song" or shortened to "I do". But as a single word you would answer "Me!"

{adult} Who wants to sing a song?
{all the children} Me!!

As an interjection, the children would say "Me!". The word "I" is not used on its own.

You are confused because you think that the sentence "I want to sing a song" should be shortened to "I!" This is not correct. We use "I" only as part of a sentence. If you are not making a sentence but just saying one word you would say "Me!".

  • I know that the question with WHO in which WHO is a subject pronoun is answered with subject pronoun as well. So the answer would be "I" OR "I am" OR "I want to sing with you." – Ahmad Sharara Mar 17 '19 at 20:33
  • As I said, the normal answers would be "Me", or "I do", or "I want to sing with you." When not part of a sentence one uses "Me" instead of "I". – James K Mar 17 '19 at 21:00
  • Which one is grammatically correct: Say, "I" OR say, "me?" – Ahmad Sharara Mar 18 '19 at 18:27
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    Grammar is about the rules for how words go together and how they change when placed with other words in a sentence. One word alone is not a sentence. However as an interjection you should use "me" not "I". In a sentence you should say "I do" or "I want to sing a song". – James K Mar 18 '19 at 21:14

You want the student to volunteer, by saying "I want to sing a song" or jsut "I" for short. That is correct. "Me wants to sing a song" would be incorrect.

However, if the student responded "Me, me, choose me" that would not be incorrect, and would certainly be understood.

Technically, in writing your speech it could be put as:

Who wants to sing a song? Say "I".

with the quotes to indicate that "I" is the word for the student to repeat.

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    Does the I between quotes refer to a reported speech, and is it reporting their speech in short, so the quotes are placed here? The answer would be; The student says, "I." – Ahmad Sharara Mar 17 '19 at 20:56
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    @Ahmad Sharara neither. I am giving the teacher's speech in which the teacher instructs the student what to say. Consider the similar "Sar 'Present' when your name is called. " The teacher instructs the student to say "present". This is an example of the use-mention distinction, the word in quotes is being mentioend, not used. – David Siegel Mar 17 '19 at 21:14

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