I know that "you and I" should be used when it's the subject of a sentence, and "you and me" when it's a complement. But I'm not sure about the following phrase:

We are very good pals, you and I.

It would seem to me that "you and I" is a subject here (so I should use "I" instead of "me"). Is that correct?


2 Answers 2


The subject is we and are agrees with it in Standard English. You and I is in apposition to we and is what we might expect to find in formal contexts. However, you and me might also be found in less formal contexts. I would say that it was a Standard English alternative, but others might disagree, arguing that it was to be found only in non-standard dialects.

  • What do you mean by 'Standard English?' You and me is clearly wrong in formal contexts; it is certainly used informally. Oct 10, 2011 at 11:34
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    Richard Hudson described it as ‘the kind of English which is: (1) written in published work, (2) spoken in situations where published writing is most influential, especially in education (and especially at University level), (3) spoken “natively” (at home) by people who are most influenced by published writing - the “professional class”.’ <phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/standard.htm>. My own, rather less authoritative, essay on the topic is here: <grammarforgrownups.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/…> Oct 10, 2011 at 13:20
  • FWIW, I agree with you. But then Standard English doesn't include you and me: it's almost a test case for non-Standard. Oct 10, 2011 at 13:31
  • No. There are things called "figures of speech". It's not a matter of Standard English vs dialects.
    – gd1
    Oct 10, 2011 at 13:48
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    ‘You and me are very good pals’ is certainly non-standard. In the OP’s example, where the phrase in apposition is shifted to the right, and thus separated from the verb, I’m not so sure. The inflections of the first person singular pronoun when coordinated with a noun or another pronoun is an interesting topic, but too big to be pursued here. Oct 10, 2011 at 13:50

You and I/me is more complicated than it seems at first sight. I have discussed it in this blog post with reference to between you and I.

  • It may get complicated when you want to analyse the reason we say Between you and me rather than Between you and I. But there's no real scope for discussing which is "correct", assuming you accept the overwhelming prevalence of the former as prima facie evidence of correctness. Oct 10, 2011 at 13:39
  • Let's remember that nGrams is a record of usage in print, not in speech. Oct 10, 2011 at 16:24

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