Last week, I heard this on the radio:
We wonder how it’s going to impact you and I.
Oops. Wrong choice. The sentence should read like this:
We wonder how it’s going to impact you and me.
Why? Because “me” is the objective case of the pronoun “I,” and in this sentence, “you and me” are direct objects of the infinitive “to impact.”
To get a quick sense of whether to use the nominative I or the objective case me, it sometimes helps to eliminate distracting words and focus on the word in question:
We wonder how it’s going to impact I.
Sound odd? That’s a big hint that the objective case, not the nominative, is the correct choice.
Notice how it’s the presence of “you” in the original sentence that muddies the waters. The source of the confusion is that the nominative and objective forms of “you” are identical. In a sense, when the pronoun “you” is the first word of a compound object, speakers and writers can easily forget that any following pronouns will change form:
Not: We wonder how it’s going to impact you, he, and she.
But: We wonder how it’s going to impact you, him, and her.
Tip (from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition):
. . . the English language has only seven words that have different nominative and objective forms: I/me, we/us, he/him, she/her, they/them, who/whom, and whoever/whomever.
These seven little words certainly cause a great deal of confusion!
Tara’s Writing Studio