This page was first published on the 11th of February, 2017 and last updated on the 12th of February, 2017 by Patrick Carpen.
Students of English are often faced with the puzzle: which is correct: “between you and I” or “between you and me”?
The answer: “between you and me” is always correct and “between you and I” is always incorrect. Read on to learn why.
To help answer this question, let’s look at the two types of pronouns: subject pronouns and object pronouns.
Subject Pronouns: I, you, he, she it, they.
Object Pronouns: Me, you, him, her, it them.
My name is Patrick, so let’s write a sentence about Patrick:
Patrick watered the plant.
Now let’s replace “Patrick” with a pronoun.
I watered the plant.
In the above sentence, we use the subject pronoun “I” to replace “Patrick” because “Patrick” in that case is a subject (something we are talking about).
But what if Patrick were receiving an action?
Let’s make another sentence were “Patrick” as an object:
Mary smiled at Patrick.
In the above sentence, “Patrick” is an object because he is the object of the verb “smiled”.
So let’s replace “Patrick” with a pronoun:
Mary smiled at me.
In the above sentence, an object pronoun is used to replace a noun that is an object of a verb.
Let’s examine the subject and object pronouns again:
Subject Pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, they
Object Pronouns: Me, you, him, her, it, them
Note that “you” and “it” stay the same for both object and subject pronoun forms.
As you can see, when the pronoun is used as a subject, we must use its subject form. When it is receiving an action, we must use its object form.
So is it “between you and me” or “between you and I”?
The answer: “between you and me”.
Why? Because in this case, the pronoun is “object of a preposition”; therefore, you have to use an object pronoun.
Subject pronouns are said to be in the “nominative case” and object pronouns are said to be in the “objective case”.
So, for any pronoun after a preposition, we must use its objective case.
Here are some more examples.
On them. E.g: He threw the water on them.
Over me. E.g: The plane flew over me.
Under him. E.g: I put the pillow under him.
Behind her. E.g: The boy was standing behind her.
Between him and her: E.g: The suspect was standing between him and her.
between you and me. E.g: Between you and me, I think he is lying.