March 14, 2013Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation
Lots of people have a problem knowing when to use “you and me” and when to use “you and I.”
The simple solution is to delete the first two words in the problem phrase and see if the sentence sounds right:
You and me went to the bank. → Me went to the bank. (WRONG; should be “You and I.”)
He came along with
you and I. → He came along with I. (WRONG; should be “you and me.”)
The same problem can occur with any pronoun: we and they vs. us and them, she and he vs. her and him, and so on. The solution is the same; your instincts will almost certainly be correct once you’ve deleted one item in the pair (generally the first) and the conjunction.
Why the problem occurs:
You, me, him, her, he, she, it, they, and so on are pronouns. Pronouns can be the subject of the verb or the object (technically the first is the nominative case and the second the objective case of the pronoun). Most pronouns change their form between the two cases; some, like “you” and “it” do not. Because educated English-speakers are used to “you and I” as the correct construction in the nominative case, many make the mistake of thinking that “you and I” is always correct. In the objective case, though, it’s wrong: “you and me” is right.
“You and I are going with George.” → Pronouns are the subject; the nominative case is used.
“George is going with you and me.” → Pronouns are the object; the objective case is used.
For exactly the same reason, people become confused about “who” and “whom.” “Who” is nominative, used when the pronoun is the subject of the sentence, and “whom” objective, used for the object. I’ll post about who/whom in more detail another time.