Spot the deliberate mistake
What’s wrong with this conversation?
Anna: “You got the invitation from Bob and I, right?”
Yelena: “Absolutely. Me and Zack are really looking forward to the clothes-swap party—well, I am. Zack’s wardrobe consists of two pairs of jeans and the sweatshirts they gave out at the company softball games. Before he got laid off.”
Anna and Yelena are swapping their me’s and I’s as well as the contents of their closets.
1. What’s the matter with Yelena’s me and Zack? Easy, right? You probably learned that it should be Zack and I in third grade. Correct! Top of the class.
2. Anna’s problem: she learned that and I lesson so well, she thinks it applies in every situation. It’s been so drummed into us that it’s taken over even where it isn’t supposed to be. Would you say “Did you get the invitation from I?” No way. It’s from me—duh.
1. For Yelena, it’s Zack and I. Nothing else in her sentence is affecting the two of them—they’re a happy, independent couple.
2. For Anna, it’s from Bob and me because of that from. Its job in her sentence is to affect Bob and I. And when I is worked on by another word or idea, it becomes me, even if the I is coupled with a second person: “The dog ran toward Bob and me”; “the dog bit Bob and me”; “the dog ran away from Bob and me.” No exceptions.
Getting it right
So easy: If you’re uncertain whether to use and I or and me, just subtract the other person from the sentence. As in: Did you get the invitation from [Bob and] I? Whoops! Now you know it has to be from Bob and me.