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When the phrase is used as an object, why so many native speakers are saying "you and I" instead of "you and me"? I'm not a native speaker but I thought "you and me" is correct. Not sure if this falls into the same category, but "Just between you and me" sounds more natural than "Just between you and I".

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1  
As simple tip to understand which one to use, remove "you and" in the sentence, and see if the sentence is still correct (apart from the verbs that need to be changed from plural to singular). –  kiamlaluno Mar 16 '11 at 12:53

7 Answers 7

up vote 30 down vote accepted

This is an example of hypercorrection, which is when native speakers make an accidental error in their zeal to avoid a different error.

In this case, the error that's being avoided is the error of writing "you and me" in subject position, as in the following sentence:

You and me are going to the store.

This is formally incorrect, although it's very common in contemporary spoken English. Because they have been taught that this is incorrect, many people hypercorrect and change "you and me" to "you and I" in all positions. That is, they incorrectly learn the rule about when to use "you and I", and so produce sentences like the following:

You and I are going to the store. [Correct]

He'll come to the store with you and I. [Incorrect]

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+1 for the word hypercorrection. –  TRiG Oct 14 '10 at 20:09

"You and I" is the subject. "You and me" is the object.

"You and I hate Phil." "Phil hates you and me." "Phil is hated by you and me." All of these are grammatically correct. (No offence to Phil.)

It really winds me up when people hypercorrect because they think that "you and me" is always wrong. "Phil hates you and I." NO! This is worrying.

The best way to work out if you should be using "you and I" or "you and me" is to take away the "you and" and see if the sentence sounds right with just I or me.

"I hate Phil." Sounds good. "Me hate Phil." Sounds like a caveman talking!

"Phil hates me." Sounds good. "Phil hates I." Sounds ridiculous!

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Nicely explained. Really like the way you explain it. Thanks. –  jpartogi Nov 21 '10 at 23:28

They are synonymous but grammatically different. They are often used interchangeably (incorrectly) by native speakers. There is a simple way to tell which one to use, by imagining the clause without the "you and" part:

Example: You and (I/me?) should spend more time together
Imagine: "Me should..." (this is clearly wrong)
Imagine: "I should..." (correct!)
Answer: You and I should spend more time together

Example: He should have spoken to you and (I/me?).
Imagine: "He should have spoken to me" (correct!)
Imagine: "He should have spoken to I" (wrong)
Answer: He should have spoken to you and me.

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I think your Imagine examples are clearly right or wrong to native English speakers, and it's the trick I use, but I don't think either is obviously right or wrong to a non-native speaker. I suspect learning the subjective vs the objective cases, as explained by @PDG, is more likely to work when nothing sounds right or wrong due to lack of experience. –  Matthew Frederick Mar 16 '11 at 12:08
    
@Matthew: Correct. The formal way would usually be used with non-native speakers, whilst the my informal (cheating) way is usually used with native speakers. –  kdt Mar 16 '11 at 12:18

To add to the previous examples by kdt.

The pronoun "I" is in the subjective case whereas the pronoun "Me" is in the objective case. So when you want to tell that you did some action then use "I"

e.g. My mother and I went to the market.

If some action is received by you then make the use of "Me".

e.g. Vijay offered some chocolates to you and me.

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If this were the rule in English, "My mother and I am happy" would be correct since "I am happy" is correct. It is "My mother and I" that needs to be in the subjective case in the sentence "My mother and I went to the market". So this doesn't tell us whether the X should be "I" or "me" to make "My mother and X" subjective. (If we already knew the X had to be subjective, we wouldn't need this rule. If we didn't know, this rule doesn't tell us.) –  David Schwartz Dec 27 '11 at 7:32

An alternative view is that "you and me" was always OK until somebody decided in the 18th century that English should be like Latin and started teaching that you have to use 'I' when you would use 'ego' in Latin. Since the rule taught since then is hard for English speakers to grasp (since grammatical case is marginal in English), many people are unsure of where to apply it, hence the hypercorrection. In fact, in Joseph Emonds' 1985 paper "A grammatically deviant prestige construction" he shows that there are slightly more complicated examples (which I cannot recall to mind) where even people who think they do know the rule are often unsure. His paper argues that English with that rule is not a possible natural language, in the sense that there is not enough information about case available to an English-speaking child to construct the rule. His claim is that the rule exists only as a rule learnt in school or equivalent.

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The paper is now available online at fine.me.uk/Emonds –  Colin Fine Feb 28 '11 at 18:35
    
I believe the following qualifies as a "slightly more complicated example": "The teacher gave a sticker to he who did it best." "I" can be substituted there. –  narx Aug 7 '11 at 17:57

You're right when you say that I should be used in the nominative and me in English's oblique or objective case, usually as an object of the verb phrase, but also of a prepositional phrase. A case where you and I is incorrect is when the pronoun is the object of the the preposition between.

"Just between you and me".

*"Just between you and I".

Also consider:

"The table is between the couch and him."

*"The table is between the couch and he."

All normal rules regarding the nominative are superseded here by the preposition. People using you and I in this case, after an oblique preposition, are overgeneralizing the rule that you ought to say it instead of you and me.

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It depends from the context. As a way to check what is correct, remove you from the sentence, and see if it's correct.

You and I will go to the cinema.

That is correct, as I will go to the cinema is correct.

Laura will come to the cinema with you and me.

That is correct, as Laura will come to the cinema with me is correct.

As a general rule, I is used as subject, and me as object.

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I did say "when the phrase is used as an object". –  grokus Aug 16 '10 at 15:58

protected by RegDwigнt Dec 15 '12 at 13:45

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