Sometimes so-and-so and me is okay.

Overcorrection.

It’s a natural human inclination. If you throw me a heavy ball I catch in my right hand and then throw me a heavy ball I catch in my left hand, I will lean right, lean left, and then balance myself to the middle eventually.

There was a time (I want to say it was the early 1980s) when everyone I knew said so-and-so and me regardless of whether it was appropriate for the sentence or not: Jill and me went to the comic book convention on Saturday or Bill and me lost our virginity on the doorstep of my parents’ house. Then I guess some hoity-toity wanna-be grammarians kept chastising others with “No, it’s so-and-so and I,” and eventually, instead of learning that it depends on the structure of the sentence, people learned that it was always so-and-so and I instead of so-and-so and me. Now, twenty years later, almost every college graduate I know who is between the ages of 22 and 35 will say so-and-so and I even if the sentence warrants a so-and-so and me.

Here’s a quick lesson for those who don’t want to burn my ears. So-and-so and I is just a more specific way of saying we. So-and-so and me is just a more specific way of saying us. So substitute in we or us as necessary and see if the sentence sounds funny to you.

Examples
That was just a secret between Michelle and I
Lawn bowling is something Gertrude and I enjoy doing every Saturday
Hester gave a thoughtful gift to Edith and I
Grace and I wanted to play bridge but couldn’t find the cards

Okay. Let’s substitute in we or us and see how the sentences sound now.

That was just a secret between we (wrong)
Lawn bowling is something we enjoy doing every Saturday (right)
Hester gave a thoughtful gift to we (wrong)
We wanted to play bridge but couldn’t find the cards (right).

Some people also recommend removing the so-and-so to see how ridiculous the sentence sounds (e.g., That was just a secret between I or That was just a secret between me), but that doesn’t preserve the meaning of the sentence, so I prefer substituting in we and us instead.

It’s not that complicated, really. So-and-so and I is the same as we, and so-and-so and me is the same as us. If you can keep we and us straight, you should know when to use I and me appropriately with a so-and-so.

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3 Comments

  1. The way I learned it was if you remove the other person from the sentence and it still makes sense (with either I or me) then it’s correct.

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