Just between you and me, I go crazy when my teenage daughter says: "Emma and me are going to the store."
I go even crazier when I hear a colleague say: "Fred and me will take care of it." Or, worse, "Give it to Fred and I, and we'll take care of it."
All those sentences (the ones contained by quotation marks) are incorrect.
You can be forgiven for not understanding why. Grammar is seldom taught in schools these days, and most of us struggle to speak correctly—just as we struggle to parent our teenagers without looking like fools.
So, let me help you prevent embarrassment when you're speaking to a boss or an important client. Here is a quick explanation of the rules regarding I and me.
First, here's my rule, which works most of the time: Remove the other person from the sentence, and then try both I and me to see which sounds better. For example, would you say, "Me is going to the store"? Of course not! That sentence requires I. Similarly, you'd never say, "Me will take care of it." That's another case where you need an I.
On the other hand, you'd never say, "Give it to I"—that should clearly be a me. So the sentence, "Give it to Fred and I, and we'll take care of it," is also wrong. (Perhaps you were confused by the extra part of the sentence, following the and, but it's irrelevant.)
You may be assuming that you'll sound more "educated" if you start throwing in I, more or less willy-nilly, but you'll often be wrong and you'll end up sounding unsophisticated. So, take the trouble to double-check these sentences before saying/writing them.
My parents emphasized good grammar. I've also been an editor for 30 years, and I still do this double-checking. (I also reflexively check its each time I write it to ensure I didn't mean it's, with an apostrophe. But I digress…)
If you want to understand the grammar surrounding the I/me imbroglio, here's an explanation:
I and me are different types of pronouns. I is a nominative pronoun (a replacement noun that serves as the subject, performing the action of the verb) and me is an accusative pronoun (a replacement noun that serves as the object, receiving the action of the verb.)
In the sentence, "President Obama appointed Walter M. Shaub to the Office of Government Ethics," President Obama is the subject and Walter M. Shaub is the object. If you wanted to replace the nouns with pronouns, you'd write: He appointed him.
The difference between you and I and you and me frequently becomes more confusing. That's because prepositions—such as: above, about, across, beneath, and between—show the relationship between certain words in a sentence. (Check out a complete list of prepositions here.) Pronouns become objects of the prepositions they follow.
That's why even though it's normally correct to say, You and I, the introductory clause to this piece—just between you and me—is correct. The preposition between makes the pronoun accusative.
Grammar. I know. It's enough to make you and me
roll our eyes.