Grammar Bite #10: ‘You and me’ or ‘You and I’

24 February 2011

Can you spot the mistakes in these sentences?

              OThe company gave my colleagues and I an amazing annual dinner last night.

OPlease don’t tell anyone about the news. Let’s just keep it between you and I.

OJohn and me will be co-chairs of the planning committee.

OYou and me can go to lunch when we’ve finished this report.

 

Native and second language speakers alike make these kinds of mistakes.

 

How to check for these mistakes

There are two ways to check that you’re using you and me or you and I correctly.

 

1) Say the sentence with only ‘I’ or ‘me’. For example, The company gave I an amazing annual dinner last night. That’s obviously incorrect, so you should use me (‘my colleagues and me’).

 

2) The other way to check that you’re using the correct form is to use the pronouns we and us as substitutes, as in the following:

--Substitute we for 'you and I', 'my colleagues and I' or 'John and I'

--Substitute us for 'you and me', 'my colleagues and me' or 'John and me'


The pronoun we can only be used as the subject of a sentence – eg, We usually get up early on weekdays.

 

And the pronoun us can only be used as an object in a sentence – eg, Please give us your report tomorrow.

 

Let’s check the sentences above.

 

The company gave we an amazing annual dinner last night. O

Correction: The company gave [us] my colleagues and me an amazing annual dinner last night.P

 

Please don’t tell anyone about the news. Let’s just keep it between we. O

Correction: … Let’s just keep it between [us] you and me.P

 

Us will be co-chairs of the planning committee. O

Correction: [We] John and I will be co-chairs of the planning committee.P

 

Us can go to lunch when we’ve finished this report. O

Correction: [We] You and I can go to lunch when we’ve finished this report.P

 

If you ever make these mistakes, add you and me / you and I to your proofreading checklist.

 

Copyright 2014 DeGolyer Associates Ltd |  Contact Deborah at:  writewithtaste@me.com