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For a while, I had thought that if you are including yourself in a sentence with another subject, you always use I.

John and I are going to the movies tonight.

However, I heard today that you need to make the sentence work if you drop the other subject. For example:

Who is going to the movies tonight? John and me.

The word me is used here because if you dropped the "John and", it would still work:

Who is going to the movies tonight? Me.

Whereas if it used the word I, dropping the "John and" would not work:

Who is going to the movies tonight? I.

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Who is going to the movies tonight? Me.

Who is going to the movies tonight? I.

It's not that the rule changed. It's that "Me." and "I." aren't complete sentences, and so the question is what the listener is willing to do to complete the sentence or not.

To understand why we allow "Me" but not "I", consider what's being omitted:

  • "Who is going to the movies tonight? I am."

  • "Who is (it who is) going to the movies tonight? It's me!"

For a partial sentence, the listener is more willing to see it as a question where "It's..." or "The answer is..." is implicit. But they're not willing to allow just a subject with no verb.

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Your role in the sentence determines which pronoun is appropriate, I or me.

When forming a sentence, if you wish to speak of yourself as the person doing an action, or as a person feeling something, or having an opinion, and so on, use the pronoun I, whether you are alone or in the company of another person.

I like chocolate cake.

I went to the movies last Saturday.

I painted the house.

My friends and I all like chocolate cake.

Jane and I went to the movies last Saturday.

Sally and I painted the house.

I was startled by the sudden loud noise.

I thought the espresso was overextracted.

If you wish to speak of yourself as the person to whom or for whom something was done, or to whom something was said, etc etc, use the pronoun me for yourself, or us when you wish to speak of the group to which you belong. Use me in these situations even if you mention another person by name.

Sally baked me a chocolate cake.

Could you please help me with this heavy package?

Jane told me a secret.

The bus took us into the city.

Sally accompanied me to the embassy.

Sally told Jane and me that she was moving to Boston.

Sally gave Jane and me a kitten.

The kitten scratched me.

If you are not forming a sentence, but simply blurting out a one-word answer to a question, you can use the pronoun me:

Who wants a chocolate cupcake?
-- Me!

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