Submitted by rfw on April 20, 2008
Is it correct to say “Let’s you and I” or “Let’s you and me”?
July 2, 2015, 6:28am
Interesting question. Garner has a good explanation of why "me" is the grammatically correct version, but then goes on to show that several good writers have chosen the "I" variant, and he appears to regard this simply as 'an oddity', common in modern speech and writing, something he says Fowler would have called a 'sturdy indefensible'. Fowler seems to have used this term for things that were theoretically incorrect, but so common in normal use as to be, at best idiomatic, at worst, not worth bothering about.
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July 2, 2015, 5:37am
It's a bit late to join this thread but I've only just seen it.There is clearly an ambiguity in the rules . Grammar is partly about the gut reaction of native speakers and the T S Eliot quote has never struck me a wrong.The trouble partly arises from the fact that writing is not a very exact representation of speech. Let's refer to the I or me element as M. So if we say "Let's-you-and- M go to town" with the hyphenated words all bunched together, they act like a single phrase and I would suggest that M should be me. But if we say something like "Let's, you and M, ..." the "you and M" is more like an independent phrase (in apposition as someone above pointed out), standing outside the syntax of the "Let's" phrase. Here I seems perfectly all right and may even be correct. And by the time the you-and M is separated from the Let's by as much as it is in the Eliot, the fact that you and I are the performers of the verb (go), even if not the grammatical subjects, influences one's choice.
June 27, 2009, 12:56pm
I need answers not arguments...which is correct? "You and i know wat we're refering to" OR "You and me know wat we're refering to"! Answers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
February 3, 2009, 2:46am
No poetic lisence here, just rules from me:
You and me = us
You and I = we
So, "let us go, you and me".Seems to be correct. Where. "Shall we go, you and i", be another way of saying it. But "Let us go, you and I" would apear to be incorrect onthe face of it...
see this pedandtic page for detials ;)
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July 25, 2008, 9:16am
Porsche: "Holding up famous writers, especially poets, as bastions of good grammar just seems to me to be completely misguided."
Maybe not poets. But surely the works of good prose writers are the first place we should look for deciding how to write good prose.
I've never understood the notion that good writers are allowed break the rules. Does that mean the rest of us can only strive for mediocrity? It makes more sense to say that if good writers break a rule, something's rule with the rule, not the writers.
July 25, 2008, 2:02am
I amend that.
I was correct in saying that 'me' can never be a subject. I was incorrect in assuming that the word in question was a subject.
The sentence begins with the imperative "Let", making "us" a direct object, and, by extension, "you and *me*".
I apologise for that show of carelessness. That was completely my fault for being to hasty.
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July 25, 2008, 1:42am
As I see it, "Let's you and I" is the more grammatically correct form, since the word in question is the subject of a sentence, and 'me' can never be a subject.
As far as throwing out the rulebook on grammar goes, my cousin made a statement the other day that was actually quite enlightening:
"You can break any rule you want, provided you can explain what the rule is and why you're breaking it."
That rather sums it up, I'd say. I've always preferred poetry to grammar anyway.
July 24, 2008, 4:48pm
Come on now, poetic examples are pretty much irrelevant to grammar, usage, etc. ee cummings used weird punctuation and capitalization to create various stream-of-consciousness moods. Does that mean that no one should ever use capital letters again? I think it was Carl Sandberg who wrote a poem arranged on the paper to look like a brick wall. So, now geometry is part of grammar, too?Lewis Caroll just plain made up, I dunno, a few dozen words in the poem, Jabberwocky. So, now it's standard English to completely make up your own words out of thin air?William Shakespeare couldn't spell his name the same way twice, even in the same document. "Standard" spelling hardly existed back then.Great poets and writers are revered because of the ideas, thoughts, and feelings they convey, and the way they convey them, not because they're good grammarians. Many great works, even by expert wordsmiths who delight on turning a phrase just so, are created by throwing the "rule book" out the window, usually, intentionally.Holding up famous writers, especially poets, as bastions of good grammar just seems to me to be completely misguided.
July 23, 2008, 5:31am
I think, us is simply an objective pronoun as is me. It should be "let's, you and me', not 'you and I'. An appositive should be of the same type. We can, for example say: "We, you and I, comment on this point."In the same way, we say, She asks us, you and me.
In Eliot's lines, the use of "you and I" is just to rhyme with "sky", and this is possible in poetry.
All the firstname.lastname@example.org
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July 22, 2008, 11:26am
HG: Grammatical rules can be discovered by examining how the language is used. They do not exist independently of how the language is used.
I don't know what the evidence is on "let's you and I", but looking at the relevant evidence is the first step is determining whether it is grammatical.
I'm not how relevant Eliot's poem is here, since he didn't write "Let us you and I", he wrote "Let us, you and I" which in fact conforms with Six's analysis.
July 22, 2008, 6:26am
"Grammatical pedantry is so much more important..."
Um, isn't the question here which is grammatically correct? If so, then saying that something in a poem by T.S. Eliot is grammatically incorrect shouldn't really merit a stinging rebuke, should it? It's not as though "Six" came in with this during a discussion of poetry, for crying out loud. Or are you suggesting that if a poet makes a grammatical error, then the poetry overpowers grammar and it the error is no longer an error?
May 22, 2008, 8:26am
"'Let us you and I' is incorrect."
Grammatical pedantry is so much more important to the English language than something as inconsequential as the evocative lyricism of T.S. Eliot's epic poem.
May 22, 2008, 5:55am
LET us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table....
- T.S. Eliot, Love Song of Alfred Prufrock.
"Let us you and I" is incorrect. "you and I" here is an appositive, so it should be "Let us, you and I." You and I serve to explain "us."
Natalie Jost (unregistered)
April 24, 2008, 8:24am
I noticed that too, us posting at the same time. Great points, thank you for clarifying some things for me. I had thought about that later, "you and me" adding specificity, and in that case it wouldn't seem redundant.
April 23, 2008, 5:32pm
Of course "you and me" is redundant.
But that doesn't make it wrong.
Languages commonly employ redundancy as a means of emphasis.
April 23, 2008, 4:09pm
Natalie, I see that you and Jenna posted at exactly the same time. I think she detailed the reasoning you were seeking. I would take issue with one thing, though. "Let's you and me..." isn't necessarily redundant. Let's uncompress it into "Let us, you and me, ...". It could be understood that "you and me" is adding specificity. "Let us..." by itself, might be ambiguous. It could be you, me, and everyone else. "You and me" is just the two of us. Also, "let you and me...", or just "let you..." is awkward and isn't really used. "let you..." is reflexive and should be "let yourself...". Without the "us", there isn't an elegant way to include just you and me.
April 23, 2008, 9:07am
That's a great question. I would say "Let's you and me". I can't say which is correct, but I was taught that you should be able to remove the other person from the statement and it should still make sense.
In this case, it actually reads "Let us", so removing "us" and "you" it should read "Let me", not "Let I". I could be way off, but that makes sense to me.
Personally, I think it's redundant. Without the contraction, the phrase would be, "Let us you and I/me." With "us," there really is no need for "you and I/me."
If one is bent on using the phrase, though, I would think that "you and me" would be correct. "Us" is an objective pronoun, as is "me."
I still would never use it, though.
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