Me vs. I
John and I will go to the store. >>>YES.
Give the list to John and I before we leave. >>>NO NO NO.
How to easily tell which to use: REMOVE the other person's name from the sentence and say it to yourself:
I will go to the store. Yes.
Give the list to I before we leave. UGH. It should read:
Give the list to ME before we leave.
I believe that this is such a common mistake because, in many instances, the use of "I" sounds 'highbrow', while 'me' in many sentences, used correctly, can sound much more 'common' or 'lowbrow'. Well, class, don't aim for the snooty-sounding "I" without using my handy-dandy subjective pronoun tester first...it'll save you from looking decidedly, uneducatedly lowbrow in English.
It's vs. Its
Here's a simple oldie but goody that I swear I read more than once every single time I log onto my lj. And everywhere else.
It's getting cold outside. >>>YES. IT IS.
Winter is here, and it's temperatures are freezing. >>>No no!
Simple ITS test: Say the sentence to yourself using IT IS instead of it's, and you'll discover which word to write. "It's" is the contraction of "It is", while "its", without the apostrophe, indicates POSSESSION (possessive pronoun or possessive adjective, for those interested.) In the second sentence, "it" stands in for winter: winter's temperatures. So...if you want "It is", please use "it's". Otherwise, use its without the apostrophe.
More English cheat sheet help to come as I think of it. Please pass around this entry to all and sundry. Please! To as many fic writers as you know. It will help enhance the future reading experience of poor, innocent fic readers like me.