Updated on August 9th, 2022:
Is it “Between You and I” or “Me?” Here is the quick answer: you should always use “between you and me” in speech, and never “between you and I.” Using the latter is grammatically incorrect, even though it may sound good.
Using “I” is incorrect because it can’t be used as the object of a preposition, whereas “me” can.
Why You Shouldn’t Use “Between You And I”
In common English grammar, a preposition is a word that acts before a pronoun or noun to connect it to something else in the sentence. “Between” is a great example of a preposition. Whatever the preposition is acting, one should be in the objective case.
Unfortunately, “I” is actually in the subjective case, meaning that it cannot be used with “between” in these cases. For instance, it would be correct to say “let’s keep this secret between you and me,” instead of “let’s keep this secret between you and I.”
Subjective And Objective Cases
Thinking of pronouns being subjective and objective can be pretty tricky. To clarify, when pronouns come after prepositions must be objective. In contrast, when they come before, they are usually subjective.
Take a look at this list of pairs, where the first word is in the subjective case, and the latter is in the objective case:
Can You Ever Use “Between You And I?
Many English speakers would rather use “between you and I,” as it tends to sound formal. Even though it may sound better to some people, it is still grammatically wrong, and you should not use it!
In general, keeping phrases like this simple is best. In many cases, trying to sub in formal words such as “myself” instead of “me” tends to confuse a sentence or make it grammatically incorrect.
When Can You Use “I?”
There are some cases in which you can refer to yourself as “I” concerning something or someone else. For example, phrases such as “my friend and I” or “my wife and I” are grammatically correct. This is only true when “I” is in the subjective case (or is the subject of the verb).
Here is a great TED Ed video addressing the topic:
Related: “Let’s Tackle Me, Myself and I.”