Garblog's Pages

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Between you and me" vs. "Between you and I" | Oxford Dictionaries Online

The Oxford Dictionary comments in this short article on a common misunderstanding of grammar:
A common mistake in spoken English is to say ‘between you and I’, as in this sentence: It’s a tiny bit boring, between you and I.
"Between you and me" is the correct way to say or write that statement.

Oxford explains:
People make this mistake because they know it’s not correct to say, for example, ‘John and me went to the shops’. They know that the correct sentence would be ‘John and I went to the shops’. But they then mistakenly assume that the words ‘and me’ should be replaced by ‘and I’ in all cases.
My online editorial style manual has related entries on this term and related words:

between you and I, between you and me Between you and me is both preferred and correct. Why? Because between is a preposition, and grammar rules say objective pronouns, not nominative pronouns, must follow prepositions--or be the object of the preposition. Me is an objective pronoun, and I is a nominative pronoun.


I, me Often confused. The pronoun I (like he, she, we and they) is always the subject of sentences and clauses. And the pronoun me (like him, her, us and them) is always the object of verbs and prepositions. In other words, I is more likely to be at the front of a sentence or clause (typically before the verb). And me is more likely to be at the back of a sentence or clause (typically after the verb): I hugged her. He talked to me. She hugged him. We talked to them. They talked to us.

Also, please remember these correct uses when the sentence has a conjunction (such as and or or):He talked to Linda and me. Linda and I talked to him. The horse carried Debbie and me. Debbie and I rode the horse. Incorrect: He talked to Linda and I. Linda and me talked to him. The horse carried Debbie and I. Debbie and me rode the horse. To be polite, me or I usually follows the conjunction.

To test for correctness: Remove the other person's name and the conjunction from the sentence, leaving the pronoun; if it sounds incorrect, it probably is. For example, you wouldn't want to be heard saying, "He talked to I" or "Me talked to him" or "Me rode the horse." 

pronouns Often confused and misused. The "nominative" pronouns I, he, she, we and they are always the subject of sentences and clauses (groups of words with a subject and a verb). In other words, I and the other nominative pronouns are more likely to be at the front of a sentence or clause (typically before the verb). And the "objective" pronouns me, him, her, us and them are always the object of verbs and prepositions. In other words, me and the other objective pronouns are more likely to be at the back of a sentence or clause (typically after the verb). Also follow those rules when joining pronouns (and other nouns) with conjunctions like and and or.

Examples: I hugged her. He talked to me. She hugged him. We talked to them. They talked to us. We and Alex debated him and her. He and I considered them and Amanda. She or they would attend with me or us. 

__________
The Oxford item is featured today, Nov. 3, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Style: Write Choices--available at the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...