“Between you and I” and related weird errors

A lot of people don’t especially care about grammar, usage, and style as long as they get their message across. If you’re one of them, just ignore me when I go off on the subject. A lot of this stuff is a matter of opinion anyway. But here I want to say a little about a common grammar mistake that’s routinely made by experienced English speaker, and there’s pretty much no informed disagreement that it is a mistake.

Except for children and cavemen, very few speakers of English are likely to say “Me went to the beach” or “Her went to the beach.” But some will still say “Me and her went to the beach.”

Worse, my not-very-careful observations suggest that an even larger number of English-speakers, even well-educated native speakers, will say “They invited she and I” and think it’s good English grammar.

There appears to be at least a subconscious notion that the word “and” has something to do with pronoun case in English, even though it doen’t. “I,” “we,” “he,” “she,” and “they” are all in the nominative case, while “me,” “us,” “him,” “her,” and “them” are all in the objective case. But you don’t need to worry about grammatical terminology or technical detail. All you need to do is remember that using “and” doesn’t change anything.

If you say or write, “They invited her” and “they invited me,” it makes sense to combine them into “They invited her and me.” Likewise “It came from me” and “it came from him” together become “It came from me and him.”

I can think of one place this rule of thumb doesn’t help: the space following the preposition “between.” If you remember that “me,” “us,” “him,” “her,” and “them” are all in the objective case, then it should be obvious that just as we say “between us” we should say “between him and me.” Or if you don’t care about grammatical cases, just remember by brute force to say “between you and me” and the like.

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