Yup…we have some troublesome rules to follow in grammar sometimes, and one of the most challenging obstacles in our spoken and written language is that our ear is often at war with the rules of Standard English. Our ears seem to be stuck on hearing and saying “you and I” together at every verbal occasion.
Did you know that most English speakers really don’t care whether “you” or “I” are subject pronouns? Most consider themselves darn lucky if they can remember that these two tiny words are actually pronouns! But, pronouns such as “you” and “I” fit well together and are collocations. That means they are often found together in our language—so they sound right to us most of the time. Now here’s an issue: the pronouns “you” and “me” are found together just about as often. You have heard in real estate terms that location, location, location matters. Well, location matters when it comes to these pronoun phrases, too.
Here’s how I keep them straight:
If I want to use the “you and I” phrase or a combo like Bob and I, I only use it to start a sentence. It will work for you over 90% of the time in your spoken sentences.
When my spoken sentences lead me to either the preposition “with” or “for”, I know that I will be using the object form of the phrase, which is “you and me,” after them. And the phrase will be located closer to the end of the sentence, not at the beginning.
You and I will attend the play together.
(I only start sentences with this phrase.)
Will you reserve seats for you and me?
(Since I am not starting the sentence with “you and I”, I KNOW I have to use the other phrase “you and me.”)