I was taught that we should always put ourselves last to make our sayings more polite.

For example,

"You & I should discuss this problem" ("you" first & "I" last makes it more polite)

"This is for you & me" ("you" first & "me" last makes it more polite)

However, when watching an American movie, I heard a lady said to a man "This is for me & you" (they were fighting at that moment)


Do people say "I & you" or "me & you" when they hate each other?

  • 1
    Well, few people think about etiquette when they are in a scrap. At least the sentence is grammatical. – Mick Dec 28 '16 at 12:46
  • It's simple politeness to mention the other person first, "you and me". Otherwise if's perfectly grammatical to do it the other way around, whether you like them or not. – Andrew Dec 28 '16 at 21:41

"I and you" is extremely rare, and you should never use it. It is not impolite to say "I and you"; it is simply a grammatical error. As far as I can tell from searching Google Books, "I and you" is never used as the subject of a sentence; all the hits are fortuitous, such as

Doesn't it strike you as strange that I am I and you are you? (link)

We say "you and me" about five times as often as we say "me and you", so a non-native speaker should use this variant; but there is no difference in meaning that I can discern.

  • 1
    If you look through further pages on Google Books, you can find genuine examples of "I and you": books.google.com/…, books.google.com/…... – sumelic Dec 28 '16 at 13:27
  • books.google.com/… – sumelic Dec 28 '16 at 13:27
  • I agree with the answer overall, though I think the quote itself would actually be more grammatical if it was "... strange that I am me ...". – Harris Dec 28 '16 at 14:47

No, you were taught correctly, when you are about to refer to 2 people, including you, your noun (I / ME) must be placed after the other one, no matter the situation, that's the main rule, and it is interchangeable in any situation.

But it isn't a surprise, coming from an American movie, it's totally normal, specially if it's a movie about poor people, their english grammar is usually bad-studied.

  • The matter is not quite this clear-cut. See this Grammarphobia post for an alternative viewpoint. – sumelic Dec 28 '16 at 12:57
  • Also, see the comments on this ELU question: Object pronoun: me and John, or John and me? – sumelic Dec 28 '16 at 12:57
  • 3
    What source do you accept as authoritative for proper grammar? I cited the blog Grammarphobia, which I think takes a fairly standard prescriptive view of grammar (note that the author says that "I" is incorrect when the pronoun is not the subject of a sentence) and the linked ELU question has a comment by the linguist John Lawler saying "Which person of two conjoined people is mentioned first is a political problem and no part of grammar." If you know of authoritative references that say this is a matter of grammar, please cite them... – sumelic Dec 28 '16 at 13:07
  • 3
    @Davyd: "I and you" is a big deal; it will immediately mark you as an ignorant foreigner. It is not something a native English speaker would ever say. It has nothing to do with politeness; it is a language error. – TonyK Dec 28 '16 at 13:44
  • 2
    @David: I think you're conflating "grammatically correct" and "idiomatically established". I and you is grammatical when used as as subject (not as object), but it's not idiomatic, so native speakers would rarely if ever either use or encounter it. In the context of a learners' site, that means it potentially is a "big deal, because it tells the audience that the speaker probably hasn't been exposed to a great deal of conversational English from native Anglophones (or doesn't pay much attention to the details). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Dec 28 '16 at 13:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.