“You and I” or “Me and You”?

2 min read

When you make plans with a friend, what do you say? You and I? Me and you? It’s more complicated than just picking one based on preference. The rule for when to say “you and I” or “me and you” has to do with pronouns and how they work with other parts of speech. So which phrase can you use, and when?

Subjective vs. Objective Pronouns

Subjective and objective pronouns are what really determine which phrase to use. Subjective pronouns refer to the subject of the sentence, or what the sentence is about. Objective pronouns tell us who is doing or receiving an action.

Subjective pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they

Objective pronouns: me, you, her, him, it, us, you, them

Subjective and objective pronouns are used with different parts of speech. For example, an objective pronoun like “me” would follow a preposition like “with” or “between.” But with a verb, you’d want to use a subjective pronoun like “I.”

Quick Test

If you’re not sure on the specifics of parts of speech or how to distinguish between a subjective and objective pronoun, that’s OK. You probably still know where words belong in a sentence, even if you’re not sure what they’re called.

The easiest way to remember the difference is to consider the sentence without the word “you.”

Example 1:

“My mom ordered pizza for you and I to share during our study session.”

OR

“My mom ordered pizza for me and you to share during our study session.”

Take out the “you” and see what sounds best to your ears.

“My mom ordered pizza for I to share during our study session.” NOPE. The correct usage is: “My mom ordered pizza for me to share during our study session.”

In this case you want to use “me,” the objective pronoun, because “me” is doing the action, sharing the pizza.

Example 2:

Let’s turn this around so we’re using “I,” the subjective pronoun.

“You and I can order pizza to share during our study session.”

This is correct because you would say “I ordered pizza” and not “Me ordered pizza.”

“You and I” is the subject of the sentence, so you’re using “I,” the subjective pronoun.

How To Use Pronouns With Prepositions

What else is in your sentence? If you’re using a preposition such as "between" or "with," you’re going to say “between you and me.” This is because the preposition needs to be followed by an objective pronouns (me, him, her, and us), rather than a subjective pronoun (I, he, she, and we). Test this by switching the pronouns. If you say “between we” it’s clear that you’re using the wrong pronoun.

This error with prepositions occurs because people know “Sally and I went to the mall” is preferable over “Sally and me went to the mall.” Just because you want to replace “and me” with “and I” in most cases, this doesn’t apply to after prepositions.

There’s no universally correct version for this phrase. There are plenty of situations where “you and me” is the right choice. So if you tend to correct others’ grammar, keep that in mind. Just don’t forget to be polite about it!

Photo credit: Roberto Nickson/ Unsplash

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