Who did it? How to answer



How can I teach the difference

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

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

Posted 24 February 2003


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.