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Dear lord... - Portrait of a Young Man as The Artist — LiveJournal
Dear lord...
Dear Sheryl Gasser,

Please drink some water. Your gooey lip sounds make me queasy.


Oh my frickin' lord. I'm so sick of seeing this in emails, hearing it in spoken word.

From Grammar Police
Between you and I

Come on folks, don't be so frightened of `me'. It is the appropriate word when referring to oneself as an object rather than as a subject. Aha! There we see the problem. There is no such thing as objectivity! Everything is subjective. If you think otherwise, fine! That is your subjective opinion. And if you wish to fly to the moon on wings made of wax, go ahead. There is no objective reality to interfere with your plans, only your failure to believe.

But, gratuitous slams against people who don't believe in the possibility of common understanding of a really existing external world not amenable to change by magic aside, some people have been so frightened that they would say `me' when `I' was appropriate, that they never learned when each is needed. A simple test suffices: remove the plural and see how it sounds. You'll probably see the correct answer immediately. For example, is it

`The cashier gave John and I the pizza.'

or is it

`The cashier gave John and me the pizza.'

If the choice were between `The cashier gave I the pizza.' and `The cashier gave me the pizza.', you would know which was right, wouldn't you. For a slightly harder example, is it

`Who is there?' `It's me!'

or is it

`Who is there?' `It is I!'

Compare the answers 'Me am' and 'I am' to see which is correct.

I frequently hear statements like

'Me and her went to the mall.' or
'Her and I went to the mall.'

from people who would never say 'Her went to the mall or 'Me went to the mall.'

For a discussion of the reason for this problem and some others, here is an entertaining column by Nick Clooney from The Cincinnati Post.

From Wikipedia:
An example of this phrase occurs in Shakespeare;

All debts are cleered betweene you and I...

It was also used by the Restoration playwrights. This phrase was acceptable in Tudor and Restoration England, but today, most educated people, including the authors of style manuals, would consider it ungrammatical. The principle that is cited is that prepositions always take object pronouns, and it does not matter whether the pronouns occur singly or are joined with a conjunction.

A comparison that sheds further light on the phenomenon is the following:

All debts are cleared between you and us.
All debts are cleared between you and we.

Here, the subjective case sounds clearly wrong to most writers, and is almost never used in current written English. The example suggests that "between you and I" is in fact an idiom; it has been used so frequently for so many centuries that it tends to sound fairly acceptable in comparison to "between you and me". Indeed, "between you and I", though avoided in writing, would be considered acceptable in oral use by many educated speakers.

I think that has become my most potent pet peeve.


13 comments or Leave a comment
aetrix9 From: aetrix9 Date: March 3rd, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dear Mr. WPR-a-phile,

You certainly are listening more to the radio, it seems? Have you considered giving back what WPR gives to you? Click on WPR.org to become a member.

Wisconsin Public Radio is sponsored by Farley's house of pianos and Joe's Tatzina Cafe in Middleton.

abmann From: abmann Date: March 3rd, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you ever clicked to become a member? It's a pain in the ass to set up monthly withdrawals from checking. You have to send organs in the mail.

As soon as their EFT doesn't require printouts, mails adn crazy I'll totally give them 30 dollars a month.

aetrix9 From: aetrix9 Date: March 3rd, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree. You should send them feedback.

I can't say "Double-Ewe, Pee, Ahr dot ahrg" any more, I say "Double-Ewe, Pee, Ahr dot Oh ahr gee"

abmann From: abmann Date: March 3rd, 2006 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Of the addictive products out there, it is the best, in all senses of "best," option.
assfingers From: assfingers Date: March 3rd, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
No I'm didn't!
abmann From: abmann Date: March 3rd, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Go make a poll out of this! I've been posting polls first too often. Darn slackers, the lot of them over at fridaypoll.
assfingers From: assfingers Date: March 3rd, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm working on a hilaripus poll about last names in the World Baseball Classic.

It's Da Bomb.
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: March 3rd, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're cute.

Just between you and me I.

abmann From: abmann Date: March 3rd, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm cute to everyone
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: March 3rd, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
well... Ok.
thecoweyed From: thecoweyed Date: March 3rd, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Rules of Attraction?

It's only a matter of time before "me and her went to the mall" attains the rank of oral idiom. In fact, it's already perfectly acceptable English to the better part of the country. Aren't the processes of linguistic change amazing? The only question left is... why? Why are our pronomial nominatives being slowly and irrevokably attracted into the oblique cases?

Case: The cashier gave John and I the pizza.

Is it because the pronomial is linked with an undeclinable? "The cashier gave me the pizza," sounds perfectly right. But in most sentences in which a speaker would be talking about "John and I" (i.e. in any given story the speaker is telling about things that John and he went doing), given the love of English for the active voice, John and he are going to be the subjects of the sentence. Therefore "John and I" as a phonemic group sounds 'right' to the speaker, and, when inserted in that order into the place of the indirect object, the 'me' shifts to 'I' to form that familiar group. The problem, I think, would disappear in the case of "The cashier gave me and John the pizza." But I think there's technically some rule in English about ordering in that fashion that makes that sound a little awkward, too.

(note to self, I ought to have looked at that link you gave before writing this, since the fellow there gives a similar explanation -- but where he paints it as a mistake, I really think it's a natural form of attractive (attraction = the substitution of the 'wrong' case for the 'right' one) orality. Plus, I like puzzling on these things!)

Case: "Me and her went to the mall." / "Her and I went to the mall."

A little more puzzling. I think I can explain the "her," at least, though... "With whom did you go to the mall?" "Her." (proper.) "Her and I went to the mall." (improper.) In the mindset of attempting to inform the audience, the case slips into a proper form for answering the question. "Me and her" also agrees internally and would be a common set of words to substitute for a less appropriate-sounding "her and I" or "me and she."

Case: "Who's there?" "It's me."

One way to explain this one is actually through the most common form of attraction in Greek and Latin. If a person is in a dark room, and they hear someone upen the door, but can't see who it is, "Who's there?" might stand for a longer thought, one like, "Who's there, whom I just heard opening the door?" Of course, the proper answer is, "It is I, whom you just heard opening the door." But the personal pronoun is attracted into the case of the relative pronoun (extensively documented phenomenon, definitely in the realm of idiomatic statements), turning into "It is me, whom you just heard," or, for short, "It's me."

Alternately, in the mindset I set forth earlier in which the most common sentence-subject in English dialogue is "I," the person asking the question could just be expected to be making a query about himself ('Whom have I heard?') and the person responding puts himself into the oblique case just as a matter of course.

Okay, now as I've spent way too long thinking about these things, to sum up, linguistic change is wonderful and natural. :) Love it! ;)

abmann From: abmann Date: March 3rd, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Rules of Attraction?

To distill why people do it, psychologically, is because to use "me" nowadays is seen as uneducated and immature-sounding. We equate the use of "me" as a demanding and possessive, take a child for example. Most children learn the concept "give it to me" very quickly which inevitable is shortened to "Me! Me! Me!"

In order to sound less possessive and less selfish, people prefer to use I. It sounds loftier as well as removes us from our childhood possessiveness.

Also, dialectic English abuses "me" frequently. People know that “Jim and me is goin’ down to slop the hogs,” is not elegant, educated speech. It should be “Jim and I” because if I were slopping the hogs alone I would never say “Me is going. . . .”

But the notion that there is something wrong with “me” leads people to overcorrect and avoid it where it is perfectly appropriate. Trying even harder to avoid “me,” many people will substitute “myself” too. “Myself” is not a sort of all-purpose intensive form of “me” or “I.” I imagine it doesn't help, as well, that people tend to forget the differences betwen direct and indirect objects - especially in the case of "myself."

"Me first" society, my "I". :)
fiendishx From: fiendishx Date: March 5th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, if only it were legal to bludgeon people to death for stupidly incorrect grammar.
13 comments or Leave a comment