I don’t know if you’ve heard of the group dc Talk, but they do have some pretty cool songs. In my opinion, one of their catchiest songs is Between You and Me, not only because of the tune but also because of the lyrics. Sticklers for grammar (yes, you) will be hearing warnings bells by now. Let me share the song with you first before we get down to business, alright?
Just between you and me
I’ve got something to say
Wanna get it straight
Before the sun goes down
Just between you and me
Confession needs to be made
Recompense is my way to freedom now ((Bear with the lyrics: Please overlook the punctuation – or lack of it!))
Now aren’t those words just beautiful? I have to admit that there is an oft-repeated phrase that I find interesting: just between you and me. Is this proper English? Shouldn’t it be just between you and I?
Here’s the dish: between you and me is correct! While many English speakers will simply tell you that it “sounds better”, there is actually a technical explanation for this phrase.
The key lies in the preposition – between. When a pronoun comes after a preposition, we have to use the accusative case (and no, I am not accusing anyone of grammatical inaccuracy here), as opposed to the nominative case. Some examples of pronouns in the accusative case: me, you, him, her, and us. Some examples of pronouns in the nominative case: I, you, he, she, and we. ((Note: If accusative and nominative sound a bit too technical for you, substitute them with objective and subjective, respectively.))
Just between you and me, I’d rather not talk about accusative/nominative cases. Suffice it to say that people who say between you and me are not making a mistake.
Two things to note: I don’t know of a single writer who would think between you and I would possibly be correct. Everyone knows this. It makes me wonder if the writer of the post has been getting this wrong for years, finally discovered she was wrong and assumed the rest of us are making this mistake.
Two, those lyrics? Terrible! Passive voice? “Recompense?” “Some pretty cool songs?” Wait, that last one is from the writer of the post. Still. Sloppy writing. I hope no one got paid for this.
Terreece M. Clarke says
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Franky Branckaute says
It makes me wonder if the writer of the post has been getting this wrong for years, finally discovered she was wrong and assumed the rest of us are making this mistake.
I personally do find the use of comma in this sentence rather poor, appalling even.
marina delvecchio says
Noemi, I love your post — and I disagree with Grmmarian. There are a lot of writers out there — and people in general — and teachers, oh my — who think that “between you and I is correct. I teach College English, and I have to dedicate a lesson to this because all my students leave high school believing “between you and me” is incorrect. And what kills me the most, is that TV, Movies, and the media plague our screens with the incorrect version. I Stumbled, FB’d and tweeted this because you posted a fun and unique way of pointing out the differences. I also love the way your supervisors stand up for you. That is classy!
Chris Rose says
Sorry, Noemi, but you’re off-beat here – see how I put that? You should appreciate it if you have a penchant for words and like to play around with them; please visit my website, I’m sure you’ll realise that I, too, am lover of language… “realise”, English spelling.
My point is, without getting carried away, songwriting shouldn’t appear on any Police Grammar radar – it’s simply not about ‘you and me’ and ‘you and I’.
Yes, it’s a misconception to believe poetry follows no grammatical rules. It does, but that’s poetry in the conventional sense.
Popular music follows the old street rules of Blues music, where there are no rules. And we should all understand that and recognise the difference – “recognise”, English spelling.
Feel free to step into my website, where we can chat longer.
All the best