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Between You and Me

Just between you and me, today I'm going to talk about the pronouns I and me. Celine Dion gets it right. Jessica Simpson does not.

By
Mignon Fogarty,
June 26, 2007
Episode #064

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Jbetween you and meust between you and me, today I'm going to talk about the pronouns I and me.

I've been meaning to talk about the phrase between you and I for a while, but when I heard that Hillary Clinton had chosen the song “You and I” by Celine Dion for her campaign theme song, I knew  it was finally the right time to tackle this topic!

That's because Celine Dion's song “You and I” is grammatically correct, whereas the Jessica Simpson song “Between You and I” is incorrect.

You, I, and Me are Pronouns

First the basics: the words you, I, and me are all pronouns. They stand in for nouns like Hillary, Jessica, and Grammar Girl.

Pronouns can be subjects, objects, or possessive. I've talked about this before—the subject of a sentence is the agent taking action, and the object is the thing or person being acted upon. If I say, “I love you,” I am the subject (the one doing the loving), and you are the object (the target of my love and the object of my affection).

A possessive pronoun shows that the thing or person possesses something. I won't talk about possessive pronouns anymore today, because they aren't relevant to the topic.

Subjective and Objective Pronouns

This next part you just kind of have to know. If you've been speaking English for a long time, you probably know it whether you think you do or not, and if you are learning English you just have to memorize it.

I is a subject pronoun, and me is an object pronoun.

The proper sentence is I love you, not Me love you. You use I because the pronoun is the subject of the sentence, and I is the subjective pronoun. And if you've been speaking English your whole life, your ear quickly picks up the difference between right and wrong. I play the marimbas versus Me play the marimbas.

Squiggly loves me is the proper sentence, not Squiggly loves I. I'm the target of Squiggly's love, so I'm in the object position in that sentence, and the objective pronoun is me. Again, in most cases your ear should pick up the difference. He gave the marimbas to me versus He gave the marimbas to I.

The reason it gets a little tricky when you combine I and me with you is that you is both a subjective and an objective pronoun. It's one of those confusing things that just isn't fair. Whether it is in the subject or the object position, you still use the word you. You love Squiggly and Squiggly loves you. They are both correct.

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