EZ Grammar Guide: Why "Between You and I" is a Big Mistake
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EZ Grammar Guide: Why "Between You and I" is a Big Mistake

EZ Grammar Guide to understanding \"between... you and me.\" Understanding prepositional phrases beginning with \"between.\"

Just between you and me, a really bad error in English is all caused by the word “between.”

For some unknown reason, lots of people want to say: between you and I… between she and I… between me and him… between he and I… all of these are, of course, WRONG.

And, it’s so easy to get these right. Let’s look.

The word “between” is a preposition. A preposition is a word like: in, of, on, about, after, - and a lot more. A prepositional phrase is like the following: in the store, of my own, on the bus, etc.

Sorry for getting technical, but it gets easy soon.

So, “between” is a preposition. That means it starts a prepositional phrase. For instance: I got a flat tire between here and the office. “Between here and the office” is the phrase.

Now, everybody knows the difference between personal pronouns, right?

SUBJECT   OBJECT

I                  me

you             you

he, she, it   him, her, it

we              us

you            you

they          them

Prepositions are followed by “objects. Never “subjects.”

There you have it. It’s that easy.

You can’t say:

between you and I          say… between you and me

between she and I          say… between her and me

between they and me     say… between them and me

between he and I            say… between him and me

between he and she       say… between him and her

Get it? No subjects. Always objects. No exceptions.

Now a word about manners. This is not really a grammar rule, but one of traditional manners. Just as it’s polite to hold a door open for someone else, in a prepositional phrase, put the other person first, then yourself.

Don’t say:

between me and her          say… between her an me (the other person comes first, you last)

between me and them        say… between them and me

Make sense? Now you just have to practice.

Which sentences contain a “between” error?

1. Just between you and me, Richard didn’t care.

2. He asked that the work be divided between she and Henry.

3. The Pope called for peace between us and them.

4. A treaty between the French and them was signed.

5. Among all of us, I think the most work was done between she and I.

Sentences 2 and 5 are incorrect. Sentence 3 should read “between them and us,” placing the other party before ourselves.

EZ Grammar Guide is meant to be a non-technical, easy explanation of common errors found in written English.

© 2010 EZ Grammar Guide by David Sullivan

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Comments (13)

Great explanation, I'll keep it in mind in the future.

It's that song from the 2010 Winter Olympics, isn't it? Yeah, -Here in Canada we're all sort of scratching our heads or whatever we've got that itches, trying to figure that one out... We're still too busy counting our Olympic Gold so we can't be bothered too much with grammar right now. ;-) GREAT article. :-)

Found your article very interesting, although I must admit I've rarely heard some of your 'wrong ' examples. Maybe you could tell me if this is the correct phrase. There is a war ' between ' the British and the Afghans. Surely the words British and Afghans are subjects ?

Thanks for sharing. A good reminder to be cautious of choosing the right word to use.

Interesting article. Funny, but many do make mistakes, even in their own language. As a non native English speaking writer all hint to improve are welcome.

Thanks for the comment, DeeBee, Sorry, but just because British and Afgan are capitalized, it doesn't make them subjects. They are objects of the preposition "between." You can thank Sam Johnson and Noah Webster for this whacky language we all trip over. It gives teachers something to do though. David Sullivan

Thanks a lot ...great article and an eye opener :)

Excellent!

great article. That's really true. many people seem to commit this mistake yo9u mentioned.

This is very helpful and clearly understandable.

This post warns me to have my articles proofread several times before I have it submitted for publishing. A really edifying article!

Great write...voted up!

This is a very useful post. Thanks for sharing.

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