‘You and I’ vs. ‘you and me’ in English

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

Should you always write and say “you and I” and avoid “you and me”? Some native speakers will tell you so, but not only does no such rule exist, but using “you and I” instead of “you and me” is plain wrong in many situations.

The rule is quite simple, actually. If “you and I” is the subject of a sentence (i.e. “you and I” are the people who are doing the action), it is the correct form:

You and I are good friends. (correct)
You and me are good friends. (colloquial)

The second example is not strictly speaking wrong (it is widespread to use “you and me” this way), it’s just colloquial and should be avoided in formal speech and formal writing.

If “you and I” is an object (i.e. the action is being done to it), the correct form is “you and me”:

She didn’t see you and me. (correct)
She didn’t see you and I. (wrong)

A simple mnemonic is to say “he” or “him” instead of “you”. Would you say “she didn’t see he and I”? I don’t think so. Similarly, you probably wouldn’t say “him and me are good friends”.

This article was based on my guide to the most common mistakes in English, which explains many similar topics. Why don’t you check it out?

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