Should you use the phrase between you and I or between you and me? If this question stumps you, you’re not alone—confusing me and I is one of the most common grammar problems writers encounter.
What does that mean in this case?
Why is between you and me correct?
Technically, the correct phrase is between you and me.
The phrase contains a preposition: the word between. That means it requires an object pronoun, or the word me, which functions as the object of the preposition.
However, the phrase between you and I has become accepted as an idiom of its own. Even Shakespeare used it! That’s because sometimes the word I is used due to hypercorrection. It “sounds” more correct to our ears in certain constructions and we substitute it where me would do. Though some grammarians may complain about the phrase between you and I, it’s been in common use for centuries.
In fact, language is expected to change over time. In the introduction to the 2003 edition of The King’s English, Matthew Parris reminds us that “There is no authority. English is not a managed language. Nobody is in charge.” Over time, English speakers themselves become the authority. Some accepted conventions sound very natural, like saying “I’m good” instead of “I’m well.” And, through their common usage, they become accepted. The same goes for the phrase between you and I, which is used colloquially.
How to use between you and me in a sentence
If you’re looking to incorporate the more formal phrase (between you and me) in your writing, we’ll show you a few ways to make it work. It functions equally well at the beginning or end of the sentence, like so:
- So, just between you and me, I’m not sure that’s the best color for the exterior of the house.
- I do feel like lately there’s been some distance between you and me. Is something wrong?
- I promise, everything you say is between you and me.
- That’s the one key difference between you and me: I hate being the center of attention.