Two weeks ago I discussed the difference between the prefixes bi- and semi-. Last week I described the inappropriateness of using both with as well as. This week I’ll be examining another example that also involves another persistent theme of this technical writing tips blog — distinguishing between spoken English and written English.
Consider the example sentence in the cropped graphic above. It may seem completely appropriate, and yet a problem exists. The language is imprecise, and that lack of precision stems from the writer’s failure to distinguish between spoken English and written English.
When speaking, the expression between you and I ruffles the feathers of only the most pure grammarians. Speech is by nature less formal, and so lack of precision is often more tolerated. However, writing — and especially technical writing — is by nature more formal. That medium demands more precision of language. And that means consistency in sentence construction.
In the example expression, you and I are objects of the preposition between. You is an objective personal pronoun, but I is not. The singular first person objective personal pronoun is me. Therefore, to be consistent, both objects of the same preposition should have the same case. The correct expression is therefore between you and me.
So between you and me, don’t use I. Keep your language precise, especially when producing technical writing. You’ll make a more effective presentation of your message. And that will in turn better represent both you and your brands in the eyes of your audience.