I noticed that British people sometimes use me instead of my. For example, Liam Gallagher does it quite often. Example:

The wind was strong I have nearly lost me pants

What is a story behind this alteration? Is it appropriate in formal language? Do people really speak like that? Or is this a dialect rather than a widely spread manner?

  • 6
    It's one of the main features of Northern accents.
    – Void
    Aug 15, 2020 at 16:26
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    @Lambie - The sentence itself is not idiomatic by a long stretch, only the mi for my. More idiomatic would be 'The wind was so strong I nearly lost mi pants." Though if your accent would use mi like that, it would also transform I into à like in lad Aug 16, 2020 at 10:27
  • 1
    @gonefishin'again. or indeed almost pronounce I as uh especially when talking fast.
    – mdewey
    Aug 16, 2020 at 12:33
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    @mdewey - In Northern BrE? Interesting. What town, if you're a native? It's not one I'd think would shift to a schwa [though many others do in N.BrE ;) Aug 16, 2020 at 16:32
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    @gonefishin'again. no quite generally. I think the use of me for my is quite widespread in fast informal speech in BrE.
    – mdewey
    Aug 16, 2020 at 16:50

2 Answers 2


This is not a substitution of me for my but a common dialectal pronunciation of my (Northern England and some Australian accents).

According to Wikipedia, other areas of the North have regularised the pronouns in the opposite direction, with meself used instead of myself.

Moreover, the vowel in 'me' (the one you're referring to) is shorter ([mi]) than that of the regular 'me' ([mi:]) and this pronuncation of 'my' is usually used where 'my' is unstressed.

The pronunciation of emphatic/stressed 'my' was [mi:] in Middle English (before the Great Vowel Shift) and its unstressed/unemphatic form was [mi].

The Great Vowel Shift was a vowel change (1400-1700) that shifted almost all the long vowels to diphthongs but it did not affect short vowels. So the pronunciation of emphatic 'my' shifted to [aɪ]* but the short vowel in 'my' [mi] in its unemphatic form remained unaffected in some accents (Northern British, Irish, some Australian accents etc).

*GVS shifted [iː] to [aɪ]. For example, the pronunciation of 'bite' was /bi:t/ before the GVS.

  • 13
    It is important to stress that this is not a substitution of "me" for "my" as the question asserts. It is a pronunciation of "my", and can also be observed for many other words ending in "-y", including the word "many" in this very sentence.
    – JdeBP
    Aug 16, 2020 at 3:00
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    @PedroA No, and that, I believe, is the point. Aug 17, 2020 at 13:57
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    @PedroA It's men-ee and the ee is the same sound in "me", but it's spelt with a "y"
    – user253751
    Aug 17, 2020 at 14:09
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    No. 'My' in its weak form is often pronounced [mə] (in fast speech) in many accents, not just Northern British accents.
    – Void
    Aug 17, 2020 at 15:33
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    "the pronunciation of emphatic/stressed 'my' was [mi:] in Middle English (before the Great Vowel Shift) and it's unstressed/unemphatic form was [mi]": was that also true in the north? Did the vowel shift introduce a regional variation in pronunciation that didn't exist before? If so, why did it affect this word and not (for example) "dry"? (Or did it?) Also, this being an English language site, I would change it's to its, but I don't have sufficient reputation to do it /maɪˈsɛlf/. Also, wouldn't beet have been pronounced /be:t/, so still differently from bite?
    – phoog
    Aug 17, 2020 at 15:47

It is very common to avoid pronouncing the long "ai" sound in "my" when speaking fast and/or informally.

Some people use a schwa as in "I've lost mə keys."

In Britain a short "i" sound is common, e.g. "I've lost mi keys."

My guess is that Gallagher said "...lost mi pants" rather than "lost me (mee) pants."

  • 1
    I have to note that this was not the Gallagher‘s quote. It was just a sentence I have made up. I have heard him say me in some interview. And yes, it sounded more like mi. Aug 15, 2020 at 16:23

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