I know this will cause great wailing and gnashing among the under fives, but Harry Styles needs a style guide. The One Direction track ‘You and I’ would be perfectly acceptable if ‘you’ and ‘I’ were subjects. But they’re objects. So the ‘I’ should be ‘me’, as in
I love Peacockshock readers.
Peacockshock readers love me.
It’s the same with prepositions, such as ‘on’, ‘from’, ‘between’ …
I can’t come between them.
They can’t come between you and me.
That brings us to One Direction’s schoolboy howler – ‘Nothing can come between you and I.’ I despair. It’s enough to make one defect to Union J. It should, of course, be – ‘Nothing can come between you and me.’ ME. Me me me.
It’s a classic case of so-called hypercorrection – trying so hard to be correct that you end up being incorrect. We hear the Queen saying ‘My husband and I’ and assume it’s correct in any circumstances, but it would obviously be correct to say ‘The corgis can’t come between my husband and me.’
Not everyone agrees though. Linguist Geoffrey Pullum claims that utterances such as ‘They invited John and I’ are ‘heard constantly in the conversation of people whose status as speakers of Standard English is clear’ and ‘actual usage is in conflict with [the rule].’
And I’d definitely break the rule, or re-structure my sentence, if it generated ‘Julio and I down by the schoolyard’, ‘Mrs Jones and I’ or ‘My shadow and I, walking down the avenue’.
I do hope this post hasn’t come between I and you. Feel free to leave I a comment.