When you and JoeBob are telling mom where you'll be on this fine afternoon, do you say:
A. Him and me are going to the movies.
B. Him and I are going to the movies.
C. He and me are going to the movies.
D. He and I are going to the movies.
OK, now if you're asking mom for money for popcorn, do you say:
A. Please give him and me $20.
B. Please give him and I $20.
C. Please give he and me $20.
D. Please give he and I $20.
Write down your answers now. You'll get a chance to answer a second time and then compare and contrast your answers.
I've never quite grasped why these are so hard for so many people--even many very well educated, literate people sometimes pick the wrong ones. My puzzlement peaked when a friend posted this week on Facebook: "I already dropped off Joe Bob and I's absentee ballots." "I's"?! Wow. The friend blamed it on doing Facebook before ingesting the morning coffee dose, but still--
I think the inappropriate use of "I" goes back to so many childhood episodes where you say, "Joe Bob and me are going down to the creek to look for frogs," and Mom would say for the thirty-seven-hundredth time, "Joe Bob and *I*." And so children grow up thinking that any grouping involving another person and oneself ALWAYS requires "I," which just isn't true. (Although, in the example given here, Mom was, of course, correct.)
The reason I don't find it complicated is because--well--it isn't. When in doubt, simply figure out which word you'd use if it were SINGULAR--that is, there's only one person involved.
I'll bet everyone will choose the right answer from among these two:
A. I am going to the movies.
B. Me am going to the movies.
and from these two:
C. He is going to the movies.
D. Him is going to the movies.
If you answered A and C, you are, of course, correct, and voila, now you know, when saying who's going to the movies, that it is "I" and "He," even if you're both going. So go back to Question 1 and see how you answer now.
So now, do the same thing here: pick the word that you'd use if the sentence were singular--involving only one person. Bet you get this right, too:
A. Please give me some money.
B. Please give I some money.
C. Please give him some money.
D. Please give he some money.
The answers are, of course, A and C. So now you know how to answer Question 2.
So that there's no confusion, the correct answers are:
1. He and I are going to the movies.
2. Please give him and me $20.
Remember: Pause and think which word you'd use if only one person were involved, and you'll then have the correct word to use even when there's someone else involved.
P.S. The same strategy works for other pronoun forms. For example, it would be, "I already dropped off my absentee ballot" and "I already dropped off Joe Bob's absentee ballot," hence, "I already dropped off Joe Bob's and my absentee ballots."