Why do smart people write "Call I?"

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Have you noticed?

Smart people who are otherwise well-spoken are still using the word "I" as an object.

If you're like me, it's jarring to read. Kind of like driving the car into a foot-deep grammar counts!pothole. But jarring is the least of your worries.

Using words incorrectly can cause some prospective clients to form a negative impression of the writer.

I don't understand why this error persists.

Nobody would actually write "Call I," but they write "Call Joe or I." They also write things like "Our son and daughter-in-law invited my wife and I for dinner last night." This year I also saw "Happy New Year from Mary and I."

It makes me cringe.

If you took Joe, the wife, or Mary out of these sentences, you wouldn't use "I" because it would sound goofy. You'd say "me."

Here's the rule:

  • I is a subject word
  • Me is an object word

Very few people get it wrong in the opposite direction - at least very few people over the age of 2 or 3. (Me want a cookie!)

REVISION: I stand corrected. As Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation pointed out, some people do get it wrong in the opposite direction. They just aren't the people whose writing I've been reading in recent years, so I forgot about them.

Back in high school (where no one really bothered to teach grammar), a good number of my classmates said things like "Me and Joe went to the movies ." They said it fast, so it always came out sounding like "Mean Joe."

I also had a friend who said things like "Her and I," but that's yet another topic.

Meanwhile ... have you ever heard another agent say "Me previewed that new listing on Main?"

No, and I doubt that my high school acquaintances would have said "Me went to the movies." It's when you add another person that mistakes happen.

So here's how to make sure you follow the rule:

If you really aren't sure which word to use, simply take the extra person out of the sentence and say it out loud. Does it sound correct using I as the pronoun, or does it sound silly?

If you put the other person back in and use me rather than I, does it sound better?

Trust your ear!

Grammar Book courtesy of stuart miles at freedigitalphotos.net

Comments (29)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Marte - "trust you ear" definitely makes "sense".  

Jan 16, 2022 06:33 AM
Marte Cliff

Michael Jacobs - I think so. Thanks!

Jan 18, 2022 08:28 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Marte Cliff,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week as somehow I missed it! I always count on you to tell it like it is! Trust your ear is so true!

Jan 16, 2022 06:46 AM
Marte Cliff

Dorie Dillard Austin TX Some things just sound wrong, if you take a minute to say them aloud.

Jan 18, 2022 08:30 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Definitely a post that more should read.  For you, it's even harder to listen to those grammatical mistakes!  But for the rest of us, it definitely sounds awkward!

Jan 16, 2022 08:23 AM
Marte Cliff

Jan Green - I know I make mistakes too - but not with the easy stuff!

Jan 18, 2022 08:30 PM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

We were taught that trick in Grade 4 I believe (me believe? lol)  Thanks for pointing this out to the many that needed it ;)

Jan 16, 2022 09:34 AM
Marte Cliff

Susan Emo I love having tricks to help me remember things like grammar rules and spelling.

Jan 18, 2022 08:31 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte:

Me get it!

I learned that trick about removing the other person some time ago but not sure where. I doubt it was in school!


Jan 16, 2022 11:30 AM
Marte Cliff

Jeff Dowler, CRS It really is the easiest way to tell if you've got it right.

Jan 18, 2022 08:32 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Marte, I hope I use the "I" properly, as you say - you can hear the difference.

Jan 17, 2022 12:49 PM
Marte Cliff

Joan Cox Yes, you can. And I'm sure you do!

Jan 18, 2022 08:32 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Marte Cliff  It is tough sometimes to get the grammar correct. You always seem to give us wonderful tips on getting it right 

So glad Kathy Streib  featured this as I missed your post 

Jan 18, 2022 07:36 AM
Marte Cliff

Hannah Williams I had the advantage of having a Mom and a Grandmother who wouldn't hesitate to correct me as I was growing up, but they did miss one thing. No one in my acquaintance used the word "whom," so I have a heck of a time knowing when to use it.

Jan 18, 2022 08:34 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Marte I am back:) I just wanted to tell you, when I was in High School and did not write correctly  either spelling and/ or  grammatically,  I had this teach and he would simply  say:

Across the Boat the River the man came:)))) never forgot it:))Endre


Jan 24, 2022 09:39 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I have used that "say it out loud" trick for years, to hopefully get it correct, Marte.

Mar 21, 2022 04:25 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

This is one of my "fingernail on the chalkboard" issues. It's just not that hard!

Apr 01, 2022 10:43 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Marte - yes I have seen in plenty of examples.  Also, using me with the verb "to be" also makes me cringe.  An interesting situation has now arisen with DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and personal pronouns using "they" in place of he or she.  This is does create another new problem.

Apr 02, 2022 04:07 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is definitely a good reminder to share.

Have a lovely weekend.

Apr 02, 2022 05:12 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Marte. A great way to get it right. That said, many often get it wrong. Enjoy your day.

Apr 02, 2022 05:23 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

A good reminder to stay vigilant with our words and check them carefully.

Apr 02, 2022 06:13 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh yes, it is jarring to hear.  Your advice is simple to follow and should help offenders avoid the error.  Although, will they be reading this post? 

Apr 02, 2022 07:03 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate Brokered by Real - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

I, aye, eye know what you mean...I admit to have have done this Marte...

Apr 02, 2022 09:54 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

It gets even harder when people try to write too quickly and then autocorrect decides to rewrite the thought

Apr 02, 2022 03:23 PM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID

I thinks me three favorite peoples is: Myself, Me and I.

Sorry, you will be cringing for a week over that one but I couldn't refuse. ;)

Apr 06, 2022 08:17 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I have struggled with this one for years and appreciate your help in fixing the issue.

There is one exception to the rule, though.  The Cookie Monster, "Me want COOKIEEEEEEEEE!" 😜


Apr 08, 2022 09:18 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It's such a simple way to get it right, and you and me both know it!  LOL

May 01, 2022 01:59 AM