Dictionary.com

between you and me, between you and i, proofreading, red penGrammar is a combination of rules and conventions. What is the difference? Well, there are the rules, like a verb must agree with its subject. By that rule, “he say” is incorrect. Then there are conventions, which are uses of language that are common enough that even though they break the “rules” they become “correct” simply through repeated usage. Additionally, there are other conventions that vary from place to place, but that’s a  much bigger discussion.

In the introduction to the 2003 edition of The King’s English, Matthew Parris reminds us that, “There is no authority. English is not a managed language. Nobody is in charge.” Over time, English speakers themselves become the authority. Some accepted conventions sound very natural, like saying “I’m good” instead of “I’m well.” Through their ubiquity, they’ve become an accept part of the language.

Last week, in Slate’s podcast, Lexicon Valley, the hosts brought up the funny example of the phrase “between you and I.” Technically, it should be “between you and me.” However, the phrase “between you and I” has become accepted as an idiom of its own. Even Shakespeare used it! Listen to their discussion here.

Confusing “me” and “I” is one of the most common grammar problems. Using the word “I” can sound learned and elite; however this leads to it being overused when it’s actually incorrect.  This problem is called hypercorrect incorrectness. The “you and me” problem is confusing when there are two objects, as in the sentence “Thanks for inviting my husband and I to dinner.” If you are ever unsure, here’s a simple trick. Omit the first person and see how it sounds. If you said, “Thanks for inviting I to dinner,” it sounds wrong. Without two people, it is easier to use your ear to hear if “I” or “me” is grammatically correct.

Could an autocorrect program solve these grammatical flubs? Learn about it here.

Are there other common phrases that trip you up? Do you have any grammar pet peeves?

224 Comments

  1. AJ -  August 4, 2013 - 10:01 pm

    Please do not use “I’s” when you mean “my”. Someone I know says Not Gene and I’s house when she means Gene and my house. And get this she is a teacher!!!

    Reply
  2. erk -  June 8, 2012 - 2:32 pm

    Neither “Thanks for inviting my husband and I to dinner.” nor “Thanks for inviting my husband and me to dinner.” are correct. The correct form is “Thanks for inviting my husband and myself to dinner.”

    erk

    Reply
    • BUD -  April 9, 2014 - 8:50 pm

      When it sounds right use it. Don’t let the british rule our grammar. We embrace diversity they even accept ebonics as a language. Tes look it up.
      If it sounds like crap change it, you and I can get over it.

      Reply
      • BUD -  April 9, 2014 - 8:53 pm

        Sorry, I was so wound up that I did not proof read my submission. Please feel free to critique it.

        Reply
  3. thatpersonwhosalive -  May 7, 2012 - 6:20 pm

    “My dog and I went for a walk.”
    “My dog and me went for a walk.”
    “My I went for a walk.”…No
    “My me went for a walk.”…No

    1.Omit the first person (or dog in this case)
    2.Omit the possesive term for that person when appropriate.

    Reply
  4. STHIBASH -  May 2, 2012 - 2:43 am

    Neither “you and I” nor “you and me”, just say “we”

    Reply
  5. ME -  March 25, 2012 - 8:53 pm

    I GOT U WITH ALL GIRL MESAGES NO BIGGY IMWILL ALWAYS LUV U IF U DO OR NOT LIV U MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    Reply
  6. SakuraMikan12 -  March 17, 2012 - 3:05 am

    I agree with this. Well, I am not an expert in English, but I agree that it should be “between you and me” I am a Filipino, so if I translate this phrase it would mean, “sayo at sakin” or “sa ating dalawa” which also means as “between the two of us” but, if I use “between you and I” it would mean, “sayo at ako” which would be totally wrong. It’s only my opinion.

    Reply
  7. Dian -  March 8, 2012 - 5:32 am

    In this case: “You and I will go to the mall,” it is correct, no?

    Reply
  8. mary torres so swagging -  March 7, 2012 - 4:24 pm

    @zach umm i dont care if you think that my post are annoying im loved your not i got swagg you dont so get real !

    Reply
  9. MissRedhead -  March 7, 2012 - 8:10 am

    i love how that in each of these posts there is alllways at least one person to point out the missspellings in others’ posts! rawr ;)

    Reply
  10. ANONYMOUS -  March 7, 2012 - 8:03 am

    WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF HACKING YOU.

    Reply
  11. lulzsec/antisec -  March 7, 2012 - 8:02 am

    WE WILL HACK YOU.

    Reply
  12. GEORGE DUBAYA BOOSH -  March 7, 2012 - 8:01 am

    Nah vote for me amercuh.

    Reply
  13. thomas jefferson -  March 7, 2012 - 7:38 am

    indubitably

    Reply
  14. Archon -  March 6, 2012 - 9:19 pm

    @ myself :P

    I did notice 8 capitalization errors, 5 punctuation errors, 3 construction errors, 1 spelling mistake, 1 usage error (us for we), and a gratuitous shot at the English(capitalized) language. After that, I guess I didn’t realise that the “its” weren’t just another mistake. If you think French makes so much sense, explain ten men raising one hat. Les dix hommes levent LE chapeau.

    Reply
  15. Ironic Twist -  March 6, 2012 - 7:50 pm

    Oh, and I don’t say “between you and I” or “between you and me” at all.

    Reply
  16. Ironic Twist -  March 6, 2012 - 7:49 pm

    I say “I’m fine,” so this doesn’t apply to me.

    I’m fine, thank you for asking. ;)

    Reply
  17. zach -  March 5, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    @mary torres so loved
    1) why are you posting irrelevant crap?
    2) your posting name is annoying
    3) it’s unfortunate that there is no ‘flag’ option in this forum

    Reply
  18. mary torres 4 ever -  March 3, 2012 - 4:21 pm

    @evie at my hose every weekend were you live ?

    Reply
  19. MSH -  March 3, 2012 - 2:52 pm

    Fun page. Pet peeves? “FREE GIFT” ! Can anyone say “redundancy”?

    Reply
  20. Jam108 -  March 3, 2012 - 6:04 am

    Is it “He is taller than me” or “He is taller than I (am)?”

    Reply
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