Language: I /me

Language I /me

By DR. JACQUELINE RANKIN
October 8, 2009 20:25
2 minute read.

 
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Did you think language is a complete entity, never changing, carved in stone? Wrong! Think of it as a living, breathing, ever-evolving dynamo, constantly changing, ever growing. Something is happening to English grammar these days and it is driving me bonkers. It's against the rules of grammar and it's as though a bank robber is trying to heist all the loot. Nobody is stopping the thug. I see and hear it everywhere: television shows, newspaper articles and in conversation with what I thought were fairly intelligent people. The culprit? "I." Plain old "I." "I," the subject of a sentence that people are not treating as the object. "Harry just loved Susan and I." Never mind Harry's loose ways - pay attention to his sloppy grammar. When I saw this error in British films, I knew it was time to declare war. When our fearless English cousins get mixed up on grammar, things are in an abysmal state. If we don't clean up the "I/me" controversy, goodness knows how our future offspring will talk! Do you say "Jack and me" or "Jack and I?" The second version is better. "Jack and I voted today." "Aunt Madge paid for Jack and me." "Jack and I went to the park." "Jack hates me." "I hate Jack." All good sentences. "Don't say that to me." "I" is the subject and it rules the sentence. "Me," on the other hand, is the direct object, receiving the action. I versus me . He versus him. She versus her. They versus them. You can always spot the subject form of a pronoun by filling in the following sentence: "- ran." You can tell the object form by using "The ball hit -." Pronouns take the place of nouns, so "Oswald = he" and "Geraldine = she." The table is "it." "You and I are friends forever." "I hate both you and him." "Between you and me" not "Between you and I." (Between you and me, I hear "between you and I" a lot.) "Julius and me went to eat." Wrong, wrong, wrong. "Julius and I went to eat." Check out nearby conversations and see how often "I" and "me" are being used incorrectly. Do not, please, correct these speakers lest an altercation ensue, but do tuck the lesson away in your alert brain for further reference. Don't be afraid to use "I" correctly. The phone rings and the caller says, "Is this Jackie?" Answer boldly and even with some aplomb, "It is I." (I know it is not really you, but we are pretending here.) Be the first in your crowd to show some grammar class. Your buddy may say, "It's me," which is generally accepted these days, but if you have real élan, show off. Use "I" correctly and give yourself a grammar medal. 1 - (I or me) just love that salsa. 2 - (I or me) am just the cutest. 3 - (I or me) and Jim went to the beach. 4 - Just between you and (I or me), nobody knows. 5 - The identity of the assailant is known only to you and (he or him). The writer is an author, teacher and body language expert.

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