Wrong: This problem concerns you and I.
You and me can do it.
The food is for you and I.
The issue is between you and I.
You and me will meet tomorrow.
On a daily basis, Nigerian broadcasters, journalists, actors, managers, advertisers, politicians, academics and other professionals who influence millions of people make the grave grammatical error of using “you and I” when they should use “you and me” and vice versa. The error has become so ingrained that many people are shocked when they hear that the expression they are used to like “between you are I” is very wrong.
The sad part is that these expressions are either correct or wrong without any middle ground. Unlike some expressions like “It is I” or “It’s me”, which can be accepted formally or informally respectively, depending on the audience and context, it is not acceptable in any situation to say “between you and I” in whatever context.
Why is it unacceptable? The answer is in what that expression represents when broken down. “You and I” means “we,” while “you and me” means “us.” Therefore, whenever you say “between you and I” or “for you and I,” you are saying “between we” and “for we.” English frowns on such expressions because they jar the eardrums and make people wince.
In English, it is not acceptable to say “for I” or “for he” or “for she” or “for they” or “for we.” Anybody who says such is looked at strangely like a murderer of English. You can only say “for me” or “for him,” or “for her” or “for us” or “for them.” So when you say “for you and I” or “between you and I,” you are murdering the English language.
Pronouns usually operate in two positions: subject and object positions. When a pronoun is taking an action, it is in the subject position, but when it is receiving an action, it is in the object position. Most pronouns change their forms when they move from being subjects to being objects. For example: “I touched him. He touched me.” It will be grammatical murder to say: “Me touched he. Him touched I.”
Excluding “it,” the pronoun “you” (singular and plural) is the one among the pronouns (I, we, she, he, they) which does not change its form in the object case. This situation makes the pronoun confusing. But note this:
You and I = we (subject);
You and me = us (object).
When the expression is the subject (i.e. the doer of the action), it is “you and I,” but when it is the object (i.e. the receiver of the action), it is “you and me.”
The problem affects you and me
subject verb object
You and I can do it
subject verb object
The third situation is that in which the expression comes after a preposition (a word that shows position or connection between one thing and another). Examples: for, between, of, by, after, before, in, on, etc. Whenever a pronoun follows a preposition, the pronoun MUST be in the object form (i.e. me, us, him, her, them).
The food is for you and me.
Share the oranges between you and me.
The onus is on you and me to prove our innocence.
For those who find it difficult to determine when the expression is the subject or object, or cannot even identify what is a preposition and what is not, there is a simple way of knowing when to use “you and I” and when to use “you and me.” Since “you and I” means “we” and “you and me” means “us,” substitute with “we” and “us” respectively. If “we” works, then the correct thing should be “you and I,” but if “us” works, then the correct option should be “you and me.”
(A) Father wants we to come.
(B) Father wants us to come.
You obviously exclaimed on reading the first sentence. That is how another would shout on hearing you say, “Father wants you and I to come.” Since B is correct, it should be “you and me”:
RIGHT: Father wants you and me to come.
(A) Us can work together.
(B) We can work together.
Does A sound terrible? Does it sound like Gringory or Aluwe talking? So, “you and me” is wrong here.
RIGHT: You and I can work together.
(A) Remember that the same blood flows in we.
(B) Remember that the same blood flows in us.
You would describe A as outright illiteracy. So, just imagine what your reader or hearer thinks of you when you say, “in you and I” or “between you and I” or “for you and I.”
RIGHT: Remember that the same blood flows in you and me.
There is another code that works here.
(A) The work is for you and me.
(B) The work is for you and I.
Which is correct? Let us expand it.
The work is for you and for me.
The work is for you and for I.
Which sounds correct? Option A does. You cannot say, “The work is for I.”
So, the correct option is:
The work is for you and for me.
Other examples are:
Father loves you and loves me. (Father loves you and me).
There is human kindness in you and in me. (There is human kindness in you and me).
You and I will finish the work tomorrow (You will finish the work tomorrow. I will finish the work tomorrow).
Before they conclude, let you and let me discuss this for a minute. (Before they conclude, let you and me discuss this for a minute).
Before they conclude, you will present your view; I will present my view. (Before they conclude, you and I will present our views).
However, it needs to be noted that when a word like “between” is used (which is usually the most used in this case), it will sound ridiculous to use this format.
Example: “This is between you and between me!” An issue cannot be between only one person! So this code does not work when “between” is involved.
English has rules like all other languages. The excuse that it is not our mother tongue is lame. English is the only “national language” Nigeria has. All other languages are used by specific people. It is not compulsory that one should use English for communication. But if one must use it, especially if one is in a position of influence, one must strive to use it appropriately according to its rules.
–Excerpt from English Incorporated by Azuka Onwuka
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