I’m wondering if the use of “me” in the sentence below has become acceptable. I think it should be “I” or “I was.” But I hear “me” so often, even from well known writers, that I’d like your opinion.
He was ten years older than me.
Since its inception in 1984, the UWF Grammar Hotline has responded to nearly six thousand callers' inquiries about grammar, syntax, diction, mechanics, spelling, pronunciation, and usage. The Hotline is managed by trained and experienced hotline operators under the auspices of the Writing Lab Director Mamie Hixon and UWF's Faculty of English and Foreign Languages.
The Hotline is also listed in the "National Grammar Hotline Directory," a publication of Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In addition, the Hotline has been advertised in office newsletters and brochures.
Hotline callers are allowed up to 3 questions per day for which they are given a carefully researched response based on preferred usage and/or conventional wisdom. Callers may not read or fax entire documents to the Hotline operators for editing. Callers are asked to provide their names and phone numbers for Hotline utilization records.
Providing you with a quick, accurate, and accessible response is important to us. Once the Writing Lab receives your question, the response is researched and given to the Writing Lab and Grammar Hotline Director Mamie Hixon or the appointed Grammar Hotline Manager for review and approval. Please allow time for this process and expect an emailed response within three to five business days. If you need a response within twenty-four hours, please contact us at the number below.
Please remember also that the Writing Lab is closed for one to four weeks between school semesters; therefore, no hotline operators will be available to research and answer your question(s).
Thank you for emailing the Write People! Remember, we don't make up an answer – we look it up.
Each year, the Writing Lab relies on the private support it receives to provide necessary services to UWF students and the community. For example, our ability to offer an online and telephone Grammar Hotline is directly dependent on the generosity of alumni and friends. Through this Hotline, more than 6,000 callers have received carefully researched responses to their inquiries about a variety of grammatical and language issues. This service, along with others offered through the Writing Lab, helps provide students with the skills they need to be successful in life.
The UWF Writing Lab is helping to create great futures for UWF students. Want to help? You can click here to make your gift online, over the phone (800-226-1893) or through the mail (UWF Foundation, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL 32514). Please make all checks payable to UWF Foundation – Writing Lab. If you have more questions about how your gift can impact the Writing Lab, please contact us at (850) 474-2029.
Do you have questions like these? Then call (850) 474-2129 or Contact Us.
You are correct to say that the pronoun should be "I," a subject pronoun, rather than "me," an object pronoun. As you indicate, one could also use "I was"; conversely, we could not say "me was." The following rule from Real Good Grammar, Too applies: "A pronoun which comes at the end of the sentence following than or as should be in the subject case when it is the subject of an understood verb" (p. 139). In your sentence, the pronoun "I" is the subject of the stated or unstated verb "was."
And, no, this usage (He was ten years older than me), though quite common, especially in spoken English, is still unacceptable in academic and business communication - whether spoken or written.