Back to you and I (who went to row the boat ashore)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 19 00:32:33 UTC 2010

I've been monitoring "between you and I" on TV for years, and I
guaran*******tee that it's been almost as long since I've heard anybody, on
TV or off, say "between you and me."  In fact, AFAIK, I'm the only person I
know who stilll says "...and me" - because long ago I was taught that if I
didn't I'd be thought to be a lamebrain.

Now James and I are the lamebrains. That's irony for you.


On Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 6:07 PM, James Harbeck <jharbeck at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
> Subject:      Re: Back to you and I  (who went to row the boat ashore)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I have a related, though not quite identical, case: I was walking
> down the steet one day last year when a young woman came up with her
> camera and said, "Can you take a picture of my friends and me?"
> indicating herself and another woman and a man. And then she said,
> "Sorry about the grammar." I said, "What about the grammar?" She
> said, "You and me... you and _I_..." I told her that actually in that
> context "you and me" was correct. She seemed surprised. After I had
> taken the picutre and was walking away, I heard her ask the man with
> her, "Is that correct, 'you and me'?" And he said, "No, it's 'you and
> I.'"
> I find in general people who use phrases such as "between you and I"
> use them with the idea that "X and me" is always incorrect and "X and
> I" is always correct. I can't say that I've ever encountered anyone
> who uses them both distinctively within the same register (as opposed
> to using "you and me" when speaking unselfconsciously and "you and I"
> when trying to be correct). That makes it different from, for
> instance, "split infinitives," where a given person may use "really
> to do" and "to really do" to mean different things.
> It's also a little different from double negatives, which are
> sometimes used as a deliberate overt register marker: "wrongness" in
> quotation marks, as it were. I don't see people using "you and
> I"/"you and me" used to mark out deliberately "wrong" colloquial
> speech, probably because "everyone knows" that double negatives are
> "wrong," whereas this usage is still contentious and will tend to be
> taken as a marker in earnest of incorrectness.
> But, Robin, it seems you have data that contradict my own
> observations... I'd be interested in further details. It may well be
> different in the usage contexts you encounter.
> James Harbeck.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list