Friday, June 01, 2012

Just between you and I — I mean, you and me — Edwards is not credible

John Edwards says God has a plan for him, specifically. If that's not
hubris, what is?
John Edwards’ self-serving apology illustrates a lot of things: hubris, political weaseliness, and a very common grammatical mistake. See if you can spot it: “It's me. It is me and me alone."
Points to those of you who know Edwards should have said “It is I and I alone who is responsible.” There are many bloggers who have other ideas about what Edwards should have said years ago, but this blog’s purpose is not to criticize behaviour or politics. That’s just a side benefit.


Using your “I” without lenses

To be fair, most people use “it’s me.” I do, in everyday conversation. But don’t you remember your Grade 7 English teacher trying to explain copula verbs and objects to you? In sum, the verb “to be” does not take objects. I don’t know why — I didn’t invent this twisted language. That means you have to use subjective forms of pronouns to follow “is,” “was,” “am,” and “were.”

Remember how your proper grandmother tried to get you to answer the phone, “this is she”?

That rule leads to a lot of confusion. How many of you say or write “just between you and I.”

I once heard Peter Mansbridge (Canada’s handsomest newscaster, according to the Royal Canadian Air Farce) say that, years ago. But I forgave him because he was talking to Ralph Benmergui.


Here’s the problem: “between” is a preposition, and prepositions are followed by objects. That means you have to use the objective form of the pronoun — in this case, “me.”

“Just between you and me, Ralph, John Edwards’ speech about God didn’t do him any good.”

Another example — which of the following do you think is correct:

• “Set up the meeting with coffee for the manager and I.” 
• “Set up the meeting with coffee for the manager and me.”

The second one is correct.


Don’t believe me? Here’s the way to test it: take out the other noun in the phrase.
  • “Set up the meeting with coffee for the manager and I.” 
  • “Set up the meeting with coffee for I.”
That doesn’t sound right, does it?

Let’s watch out for this one. Remember, in a prepositional phrase, use the objective forms of pronouns:
  • for x and me
  • between you and me
  • for Iris and him
  • among Lara, Bogdan and her.
Still doubtful? Why not put your troubling sentences into a comment, and I’ll work it out for you.

Looking forward to it!


  1. :::Looking for a "thumbs up" or "+1" to click:::

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. Cool way to teach this lesson using the speech of those who ought to know. Thanks.

  3. Loved this. I was just talking to the voices in my head and we decided that me, myself and I agree. I myself and me weren't so sure :)

  4. Just between you and me, Mansbridge is missing...his image, I mean.

    1. Thanks for letting me know! I've fixed it.