Grammar mistakes are an eyesore on cover letters and in other communication. Here is why you should write between you and me, not between you and I.
In the Boston Globe’s weekly business etiquette column, by Peter Post (http://bo.st/IYLMLo), a writer expressed concern that so many people fail to get it right. To do so, you want to remember two things. And relax, by the way; this issue is simpler than you might think:
- Pronouns, such as I and me, change form in English. What is the correct form of a pronoun depends on its role in a sentence. It can be a subject (I, he, she, they), or it can be an object (me, him, her, them). An “object” is whatever receives the action of the verb. Ask yourself what role the pronoun is playing in the sentence. Is it a subject or an object?
- Prepositions all have objects. A word such as between is a preposition, similar to by, for, from, with, in, and about 25 others. They always begin short phrases that end in a noun or pronoun, and between you and me is an example of such a phrase. A noun or pronoun at the end of the phrase serves as the object of the preposition, so it must appear in the objective form.
Sometimes you can follow your ear. People who wonder whether they should write (or say) Judy and me are working or Judy and I are working will often drop the Judy and and read the rest of the sentence aloud. They realize that they would not say Me is working. But you cannot always trust your ear, because your judgment will be guided by what you are accustomed to hearing, and that often is not correct.
Like most grammatical guidelines, the proper form of pronouns is not a complicated concept. Study it a little, be willing to look it up if you have questions, and you will soon commit it to memory.