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I have a question about a phrase:

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The problem is mine.

How is this different from the following:

"The problem is me".

2 Answers 2

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The difference between your examples is whether they're possessive:

  The problem is [me     ]         =  The problem is me.
  The problem is [me + 's]         =  The problem is mine.

In the first sentence, you are the problem. In the second sentence, the problem belongs to you.


You usually make the possessive by adding 's to words:

  The problem is [Sam + 's] egg    =  The problem is Sam's egg.
  The problem is [Sam + 's]        =  The problem is Sam's.

But pronouns are special. When you try to add 's to them, you get special forms. In the case of me, there are two forms, my and mine:

  The problem is [me + 's] egg     =  The problem is my egg.
  The problem is [me + 's]         =  The problem is mine.

In the first sentence, the egg belongs to you, and that egg is the problem. In the second sentence, the problem belongs to you.

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The problem is mine ~ the problem belongs to you OVER The problem is me ~ you are the problem!

mine is a pronoun which means belonging to me. and pronoun me is an objective form of I.

Check the example to make it clear:

Don't you bother about it, the problem is mine.
I know, between Jane and you, I'm the problem. Don't worry, I'll leave the city soon.

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  • +1 But in PDE it might be more accurate to describe me as the base form, with I as a marked subjective form. May 22, 2014 at 11:27
  • @StoneyB I remember it that way as I learned it for the question me or I with an answer that describes the difference between 'you' as an object or subject.
    – Maulik V
    May 22, 2014 at 11:53
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    So did I; but the brute fact is that in use, me/us/him/her/them are the 'default' forms in any context which is not explicitly subjective. "Who wants this?" -"Me!" ... "Who did this?" ... "Him and her." May 22, 2014 at 12:11

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