Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grammar Lesson PSA

That’s it! I’ve heard it one too many times now in personal conversations and on TV. “You and I”, when “You and Me” is grammatically correct. Last night I heard “You and I” incorrectly used in the script of a TV show. It pushed me over the edge, and now I feel the need to review the proper way to use “You and I” versus “You and Me”.

This gets into a little technical grammar. I’m no expert, and I had to look up the details. Thanks, Grammar Girl, for a 2007 blog post that helped remind me of old school rules.

“I” is a subjective pronoun, meaning it is the subject of a sentence. “Me” is an objective pronoun, meaning it is the target of action. In most cases, we easily pick up the difference and know when to use which word. “I love golf” is correct. “Me love golf” is obviously wrong.

The word “You” is both a subjective and objective pronoun. “You love Mom” and “Mom loves You” are both correct. Combining the word You with I or Me complicates things. The proper use is dependent upon the context and sentence structure. Hang in with me here…

“You and I love golf” is correct, because both pronouns are being used as subjects. You can dissect the sentence and you know that both pronouns are correct: “You love golf” and “I love golf”. “You and me love golf” is incorrect. Mentally dissect the sentence, and it becomes clear that “Me love golf” can’t be right. Examples:

CORRECT: Please explain that to Ron and me. (Dissected, you would say, “Explain that to me”.)
INCORRECT: Leave the decision to Ron and I. (You wouldn’t say, “Leave the decision to I”.)
CORRECT: Please join Connie and me for lunch. (You would say, “Join me for lunch”.)
INCORRECT: Come over and watch TV with Ron and I. (You would instead say, “Watch TV with me”.)

Another important rule (only if you care about speaking proper English), is that pronouns following prepositions and prepositional phrases are always in the objective case. Prepositions (such as of, on, above, over, between) usually describe a relationship or show possession. They don’t usually act alone, but as part of a phrase that answers questions like “Where?” or “When?”. Examples:

CORRECT: Keep the secret between you and me. (Because “between” is a preposition, and “me” is an objective pronoun.)
INCORRECT: Keep the secret between you and I.

CORRECT: The next drinks are on you and me. (“On” is a preposition.)
INCORRECT: The next drinks are on you and I.

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

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