Who did it? How to answer

 

Q:

How can I teach the difference
between

Who did it? — It`s me.
and
Who did it? — I did it.

I have had a lot of problems teaching it in practice.

Valentina
Posted 24 February 2003

A:

Some possible responses to "Who did it?" would be:

(a) I did.
(b) I did it.
(c) Me.

Sentence (a) is a common answer, perhaps a little more frequent than (b). Both (a) and (b) would pass the prescriptive grammarian's standards, since the subject pronoun "I" appears correctly.

Sentence (c) — or rather, answer (c) — is also heard, and would be considered informal.

The sentence It was me (with the verb "was", not "is," in response to the past tense question with "did,") is often heard, but it would not be the most logical response to the question "Who did it?" This question with "Who" is looking for a subject stated first in the answer — as in (a), (b), and (c) above — not delayed by "it," that is, not coming after "it."

"It's me" is a frequent response to "Who is it?" or "Who's there," when "it" serves to identify. The supercorrect "It is I" exists, but stylistically it sounds just too formal for most of us (even grammar lovers) to say.

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