Intensive Purposes: You and I

writing editing essay

writing editing essay

Someone once told me that they always use ‘you and I’ because it sounds better and, “that’s just the way it’s supposed to be, right?” Wrong.

Believe it or not, there is a difference between saying ‘you and me’ and ‘you and I’. First of all, the two words connected by ‘and’ form either a compound subject or compound object, depending on where you use them in your sentence. If the two “people” are doing the action, they are the subjects in the sentence. If the action is happening to them or they are on the receiving end, the phrase is considered a compound object. When you are talking about yourself and someone else as the subjects in a sentence, you use ‘you and I’; if the two occur as objects, you use ‘you and me”.

That sounds confusing. How do you know which to use? And is there a trick to avoiding all of this convoluted subject/object business? You bet.

If you’re unsure of which form to use, try this test: eliminate one of the “people” from the sentence. So in the sentence “Jill and me ate 3,000 pierogies,” we could cover up “me” and say, “Jill ate 3,000 pierogies.” Makes perfectly good grammatical sense, right? Now try the same thing with the other person: “Me ate 3,000 pierogies.” Sounds silly, doesn’t it? We’d never say that in a real conversation, but we would say, “I ate 3,000 pierogies.” And there you have your answer: “Jill and I ate 3,000 pierogies.”

Similarly, “For our birthdays, the magical Universe gave Marissa and me a Parsons desk from West Elm.” We can apply the same trick — “gave Marissa a…desk” works, and so does “gave me a…desk.” Grammar success.

A play on the misquoted phrase “for all intents and purposes”, Intensive Purposes tackles one grammar rule or English language tip — from proper punctuation to misused phrases — in an easy-to-understand mini-lesson. 

  • Love these posts!

  • These posts are my favorites! I remember learning this same exact trick in high school!

    • Super simple but still helpful!

  • I learned this in my second year in uni when this should be taught in Junior High or Elementary School. This is why the school system in my country is failing. *sigh*

    Dara | Hola Darla | @DarlaOct

    • It’s frustrating when this kind of thing isn’t taught until much later than it should be D,:

  • Thank you so much! I’ve always been confused by “you and I” and “you and me.” I never knew wish one to use, so this is so fantastic! What a great trick! I’ve forever using this now!
    ~Sara

    • I’m so glad! It seems like half of people know this trick and the other half have never heard it before, which baffles me (how could schools not teach this basic grammar thing!?) D,: