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Is it correct to say "between you and me" or "between you and I"?

I am not a native English speaker, so please bear with me.

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Feb 18 at 10:00

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I can't help but notice that you used the phrase "bear with me" in your question and not "bear with I." The situation is the same. In english, objective pronouns follow prepositions like "with" and "between". –  ghoppe Feb 18 at 6:22
    
@ghoppe You're right. By the way, please capitalize English. –  Kris Feb 18 at 7:04
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Woe is I! Mark Twain used the phrase "between you and I" regularly, as did William Shakespeare in "The Merchant of Venice". People have been complaining about it since the 1760's. I'm a native English speaker, and I see no problem with it whatsoever, as do millions of other native speakers who use it regularly. The only risk is that some pedant will insist it's wrong. –  David Schwartz Feb 18 at 9:28
    
@DavidSchwartz Context, context, context. You have a non-native speaker asking for an evaluation of what is considered by most to be the correct usage. Your arguments are sound, your judgement of where to make them is less so. Were this a treatise on proper grammatical usage and its possible correct permutations, yes, this argument would be valid. Yet, here it serves little purpose than to confuse someone who is looking for an easy rule that will not make a large segment of the population look askance at their statements. –  David M Feb 18 at 13:21
    
@RegDwight No. This is NOT a duplicate of that other thread, for I skimmed that other thread and it does not seem to have a "correct" answer. –  F.E. Feb 18 at 21:09

2 Answers 2

Between you and me is the correct usage.

This is an English teacher's classic. Because the phrase occurs after the preposition between, you have to use the object pronoun me rather than the subject pronoun I.

I even found a proper source to back me up. But, this one is a classic.

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Your argument is circular. It does show that "between we" is wrong and "between us" is correct. But it doesn't help with "between you and me", because we don't know that "you and me" is a subject. If "you and me" is an object, then "between you and me" is fine, just as "between us" is fine. If you're saying "between [x] and [y]" must behave like "between [x] and between [y]", I'd argue there is no such rule. Were there such a rule, "The dog and cat is missing" would be correct. –  David Schwartz Feb 18 at 9:35
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@DavidSchwartz I'm sorry, but this one is a classical example of proper usage. There may be logical and grammatical arguments to the contrary, but at this point common usage prefers this as the proper construct (pedantic as it may be …) –  David M Feb 18 at 13:16

Just between you and I, the answer depends on whether or not you're in school, or writing for a boss, or writing for yourself:

  • If you're in school, then your teachers probably want "between you and me".

  • If you have an employer, then they probably have their own style guide and editors, and a preferred style. Most likely they too will usually prefer "between you and me".

  • If you are writing for yourself, then you'll use the version that you think appropriate for the prose you're writing.

For decent info that's easy to understand, you might be interested in a usage dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage. In that way, you can see the involved style issues and other stuff. (The entry is "Between you and I" in MWCDEU.)

As to grammar: Usage similar to "between you and me" is part of today's standard English, while the evaluation on usage similar to "between you and I" is perhaps not so clear-cut. According to the 2002 reference grammar by Huddleston and Pullum et al., The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL), they think that usage similar to "between you and I" should be considered a variety of today's standard English. CGEL, page 463,

[23] i

  • a. % The present was supposed to represent [Helen and I], that was the problem.

  • b. % Any postgrad who has any concerns about working conditions or security in shared offices is welcome to approach either [Ann Brown or I] with them.

  • c. % It would be an opportunity for [you and I] to spend some time together.

  • d. % He had intended to leave at dawn, without [you or I] knowing anything about it.

. . . Construction [23.i] with I as final coordinate is, however, so common in speech and used by so broad a range of speakers that it has to be recognized as a variety of Standard English, . . .

.

EDITED: Since a recent comment brought up the issue of hypercorrection, and since an old thread has also been brought up (one that has plenty of bad info in it), this following info might be helpful.

Some more info from CGEL, page 463,

[23] ii

  • a. % They've awarded [he and his brother] certificates of merit.

  • b. % There's a tendency for [he and I] to clash.

. . .

[24]

  • i. % They've invited [the Smiths and we] to lunch.

  • ii. % Liz will be back next week, so I've asked Ed to return the key to [you or she].

Because these coordinate nominatives are perceived to be associated with avoidance of stigmatized accusatives in subject coordinations, they are often described as hypercorrections. This is to imply that they are 'incorrect', not established forms in the standard language. Construction [23.i] with I as final coordinate is, however, so common in speech and used by so broad a range of speakers that it has to be recognized as a variety of Standard English, and we will reserve the term hypercorrection for examples like [23.ii] and [24].

There is more info on page 463, which I've omitted from the excerpts, that is related to this issue of hypercorrection. (But my fingers are tired now.)

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Since the asker is a non-native speaker, it is probably safer to advise erring on the side of caution and just always using between you and me. That at least is not considered wrong by anyone (that I've ever come across, at least), while between you and I is quite likely to draw some censure from people who know their traditionalist grammar. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 18 at 8:39
    
@JanusBahsJacquet That's why I specifically inserted the bulleted list that included the possibilities of school and work. But when an EFL speaker hears some native English speakers using "between you and I", or hears it on TV or in the movies or in the theatre, or reads it in a novel, then, they should understand that that kind of usage is probably a style choice, not a grammatical error. –  F.E. Feb 18 at 8:48
    
@F.E. Personally, I would regard "between you and I" as a hypercorrection which does not prevent the intended meaning being conveyed. –  Henry Feb 18 at 8:54
    
Even outside school and work, most (I would guess) people still use the traditionally correct version and inwardly cringe a little when they hear the other version—I know I do. I doubt most people who say between you and I are making a style choice; it's just how they talk. Recognising that it's an existing form to be understood is one thing, but I'd never advise an EFL speaker to actually use it, regardless of the setting, just like I'd never advise them to use irregardless or could of or self of steam, though they're all exceedingly common in native speakers. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 18 at 8:56
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@Henry Except "between you and I" has been consistently used since the mid 1700's -- that's way too far back to be hyper-correction. –  David Schwartz Feb 18 at 9:41

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