Nigerians’ Commonest Grammatical Blunder

Screenshot_2016-07-15-07-42-15-1
Front-page headline of Vanguard of July 14, 2016 with the grammatical blunder: “Dino Melaye opens up: What transpired between Senator Tinubu and I”

Nigerians’ Commonest Grammatical Blunder

— even presidents, senators, professors,  newspapers make it

— Do you make this mistake?

By Azuka Onwuka

you and I  or you and me?

Anytime a Nigerian has to choose between saying “you and I” or “you and me,” chances are that the person will fail it, irrespective of the person’s level of education or status.  It has become so bad that most people simply use “you and I” for all cases, thereby making a terrible grammatical error that is the same as using “I” for all cases, including where “me” should be used.  Imagine someone saying, “He is calling I” or “Why did you beat she?”   Does  that sound irritating?   

WRONG:  i.  This problem concerns you and I.

                      ii.  You and me can do it.

                      iii. The food is for you and I.

Excluding “it,” the pronoun “you” (singular and plural) is the one among the pronouns (I, we, she, he, they) which does not change its form in the object case. This situation makes the pronoun confusing. But note this:

You and I = we (subject);

You and me = us (object).

When the expression is the subject (i.e. the doer of the action), it is “you and I,” but when it is the object (i.e. the receiver of the action), it is “you and me.”

Examples:

  1. The problem concerns    you and me

                   ↓                     ↓                     ↓

                subject             verb           object

           2.   You and I     can do        it

                       ↓                  ↓                ↓

                subject             verb         object

The third situation is that in which the expression comes after a preposition (a word that shows position or connection between one thing and another), for example: for, between, of, by, after, before, in, on, etc. Whenever a pronoun follows a preposition, the pronoun MUST be in the object form (i.e. me, us, him, her, them).

Examples:

The food is for you and me.

Share the oranges between you and me.

The onus is on you and me to prove our innocence.

Screenshot_2016-07-15-07-46-08-1
Front-page headline of Nigerian Tribune of July 14, 2016 with the grammatical blunder: “What transpired between Remi Tinubu and I – Melaye”

For those who find it difficult to determine when the expression is the subject or object, or cannot even identify what is a preposition and what is not, there is a simple way of knowing when to use “you and I” and when to use “you and me.” Since “you and I” means “we” and “you and me” means “us,” substitute with “we” and “us” respectively. If “we” works, then the correct thing should be “you and I,” but if “us” works, then “you and me” should be it.

Examples:

(I)

(A)    Father wants we to come.

(B)    Father wants us to come.

You obviously exclaimed on reading the first sentence. That is how another would shout on hearing you say, “Father wants you and I to come.” Since B is correct, it should be “you and me”:

RIGHT:     Father wants you and me to come.

(II)

(A)    Us can work together.

(B)    We can work together.

Does A sound terrible? Does it sound like Gringory or Aluwe talking? So, “you and me” is wrong here.

RIGHT:     You and I can work together.

(III)

(A)    Remember that the same blood flows in we.

(B)    Remember that the same blood flows in us.

You would describe A as outright illiteracy. So just imagine what your reader or hearer thinks of you when you say, “in you and I” or “between you and I” or “for you and I.”

RIGHT:     Remember that the same blood flows in you and me.

 

3 Comments

  1. Okey Daniels August 13, 2016 Reply
    • Azuka Onwuka August 13, 2016 Reply
  2. Sunday O. April 1, 2017 Reply

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