Between I or Me?

I see this a lot, and from what I’ve researched, objective case confuses some people. It does me too. A quickie grammar lesson. When you have a subject of a sentence, you’ll often find an object somewhere near or at the end. For instance, the sentence “He passed the food to me” has He as the subject and me as the object. In this sentence: “He passed the food between us,” the word us is in the objective (think object) case. We don’t say, “He passed the food between we.” We is in the subjective (subject) case. So if you put on your thinking cap, which is the correct sentence below?

  • Just between you and I, I think the guy’s nuts.
  • Just between you and me, I think the guy’s nuts.

If you said the second one is correct, you’re right. Between and all other prepositions are followed by the objective case, like:

  • He stood before you and me
  • The truth is within you and me
  • The sky is above you and him (not he)

So between you and me, this isn’t all that hard, is it?

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  1. The incorrect use of the subjective/objective is rampant! Even presumably well-educated people, some of them public figures, commit the error. “It was a terrible experience for Paula and he.” Ouch. It sets my teeth on edge.

  2. Nice explanation. Just one point: In your example “He passed the food to me” the object is food. “Me” is the object of a preposition. If the sentence was reworded to “He passed me the food” then “me” would be the indirect object, food is still the direct object and could be replaced with “it”.
    I spent over 30 years teaching grammar and those students who learn it best are the ones who take a foreign language.

  3. In any of these examples, you could also use the first person plural, “us” in place of “you and me,” or whoever. I think that eliminates a lot of the verbiage clutter. I’m personally guilty of that with my florid descriptions of things and people sometimes.

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