Why, Oh, Why?*

*This is a rant. I’m a self-admitted Grammar Nazi. I try to suppress the desire to teach the proper use of English, but this one issue keeps coming up.

This is a tweet I saw this morning (and I did re-tweet it) but it embarrassed me to see a verified, blue checked tweeter (supposedly, an ‘important’ person) make this error. I blurred out his identifying info because I don’t want to embarrass him.

Notice what I indicated within a red box.

I or Me?

Remember when your teacher tried to tell you, “Don’t say, ‘Me and Jimmy went to the store.’? It’s ‘Jimmy and I went to the store’,” as she scowled and tapped her foot.

You worked on that really hard until you wouldn’t even think to say, “Me and Jimmy.”

Well, many of us have gone too far. We are so afraid to say, “me” that we have replaced “me” (even when correct) with “I”. I’ve heard this error in movies, TV shows, song lyrics, professional speakers and news. It’s enough to drive a Grammar Nazi like me to distraction (hence this post).

Let me illustrate:

1. If you want to see Jimmy and I win the contest, come watch the game.
2. Do you want to come to the park with Jimmy and I?
3. This would benefit you and I in the long run.
4. What wonderful news for you and I.

Ok, now let’s do something that my 9th grade English teacher taught me. Repeat the sentence but remove the “_______ and” phrase (“Jimmy and” or “you and”). Here is what you get:

1. If you want to see I win the contest, come watch the game.
2. Do you want to come to the park with I?
3. This would benefit I in the long run.
4. What wonderful news for I.

See?

If the sentence was only about you, and you would say “me”, then when you add someone else, it is still “me”.

The boat was the perfect choice for me to use for fishing.
The boat was the perfect choice for Jimmy and me to use for fishing.

Now, if the sentence was only about you and you would say “I”, then when you add someone else, it is still “I”.

That memory has always been one that I treasure.
That memory has always been one that Jimmy and I treasure.

Good. Now you can pass 9th grade English!

Yea for me … I … us. Jimmy!

83 Comments on Why, Oh, Why?*

  1. Hey now, some of us a really good at other things. Grammar is not one of them for me, myself, or I.




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  2. Take the other person out of the sentence and you have whether it should be “I” or “Me”.
    What bugs me more is when people spell “lose” “loose”.
    Bugs the heck right out of I. (Just kidding!) 🙂




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  3. Good lesson; me’ll try to remember it. I’ve see lots of misuse of ‘a’ and ‘an’. One would think an oogah horn would go off in their head when they do it. Worse, I’ve seen ‘an’ in place of ‘and’ but that may be due to fat fingering on a smart phone.

    I look back over time to all the wasted effort spent diagramming sentences which should have been spent on increasing our vocabulary and preparation and presentation of five minute reports. That would have made a big difference in my life.




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  4. Me Tarzan. You Claudia. You come to Jungle, teach Boy how to use 57 new gender pronouns. He very confused lately since Jane get sex change operation and move out.

    😉




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  5. Now their’s a grate tip. I to hate grammar idiots. They’re are some people who just never learnt the rite way to spell.
    Thank’s for pointing, out the obvious.
    /s/




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  6. Pet peeve of mine, too. Objective case pronouns– as objects of prepositions or direct or indirect objects. I wonder if that’s even being taught today? One sure-fire way to learn parts of speech and proper usage is diagramming. Yeah, I’m sure that designates me as an Old Fart, but I learned proper grammar, by golly.




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  7. This is a pet peeve of mine as well, Claudia. It’s almost like people think it’s always supposed to be “I”, and it somehow makes them sound smarter when they use it. Incorrectly.

    And that’s the way I was taught, too…remove the other person (or whatever) from the sentence, and see if “I” or “me” makes sense. It’s pretty fool-proof.

    Then again…there are a lot of fools on the interwebs…




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  8. My mother was my jr. high school English teacher….it was do as I wish, but be prepared for what might happen.

    I had some of the highest scores ever. She never helped me with her homework.

    I was just too friggin’ scared to find out what ‘be prepared’ meant.




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  9. Yes, the I/me errors are indeed irksome. There’s another one that I keep hearing, and it seems to me to be becoming more frequent.

    For example, “If he would have only kept his mouth shut…” That should be, “If he had only kept his mouth shut.”




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  10. Consider these two sentences, one was used in an advertising campaign many years ago:

    All aspirin is not alike.
    Not all aspirin is alike.

    Does they both have the same meaning?




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  11. Pet peve: A lot of people educated beyond the 80’s, do not include the Letter t in speech. Instead of pronouncing Mountains, they pronounce it as Mounains. They sound like buffoons.




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  12. Youse guys, what are we The Three Stooges or from Brooklyn? I love the English language with all it’s variations in spelling and pronunciation of same as well as different words. I play word games in my mind at times figuring out all the different ways that words are pronounced, but I can do that rather easily since I can read and spell phonetically and almost always can figure out the differences. Of course it also helps to be an avid reader as well. Sometimes if I’m not reading a book I almost feel lost and TV for the most part bores the hell out of me. I always have been and always will be a word person since I first learned to read back in the early 60’s. And Extirpates what the heck is a mounain? Is that where bares and other wildlife live?




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  13. Remember “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should”? They corrected it by crossing out “like” and penciling in “as.” Pretty cool.
    But that was along time ago.

    Now it’s “marijuana states goog sa a reefer shodd,” zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz




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  14. OK, if we’re going to get into a “pronunciation” twist here, I would submit this, and my wife hates it. The word, “for”. I would pronunciate , “What did you get “for” me. as, Fer, or fur. It drives my wife nuts. She’s from Kentucky, and I’m from Orygun. Maybe that’s the problem.




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  15. Remember diagraming sentences in eighth grade?
    Hell, we learned to write in second and third grade. Now they can’t even write their names or read cursive.
    They don’t know differences ( know and no) , ( to, too, and two), (there, their, and they’re).
    Why write and spell when you can type a text on a 3 inch screen with your thumbs?
    Why learn standard touch typing?
    Why learn to even do simple math when you have a calculator?
    None of them would even know what a slide rule is.




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  16. Claudia. Is it I just drunk a beer with Joe6pac or I just drank a beer with Joe6pac? Now I’m going to drink one for all of you.




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  17. Of course, now in an effort not to use gender specific pronouns, they and their are often used when referring to a singular noun, e.g. make sure your child gets into their bed on time or, the driver is in the hospital and their condition is unknown.




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  18. We sent a man to the moon using slide rules, the first calculator I ever saw was a Texas Instruments calculator that cost $250 in 1972 the year after I graduated (gradiated) from HS in 1971. The kids now have it too easy, if everything goes to hell in a handbasket us old guys and gals (can’t forget them, does that make me sexist) will be the ones who save civilization because we know how to do things correctly the old fashioned way and you don’t. You can’t even make change correctly without a damned infernal prompt on a small screen that tells you what the proper change is. And don’t even get me started on analog clocks or sundials for that matter. OLD GUYS AND GALS RULE!!!!!!! And I’d bet that none of you young punks would know who Robert Goddard or Werner Von Braun is.




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  19. @Anonymous, I gots me a slide rule I found at uh geroge sail that was made in Japan, out of Ivory.




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  20. Graduated from college 1967. Slide rules ruled.
    Got my first pocket calculator as an Air Force Captain. Over $100 for basic four function calculator.
    First experience with word processing equipment was IBM Magcard II (selectric typewriter with huge file cabinet sized memory system with storage on magnetic cards shapel similar to an IBM punchcard).




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  21. My ability to use proper punctuation and grammar has declined with age and with my use of texting and Twitter. I proofread emails that I send before I send them and yet there are always left out words and such. My writer friends probably roll their eyes when I communicate with them…well, heck, I draw pictures!




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  22. Well, what do you expect after a couple of generations of kiddletts watching Sesame Street and Cookie Monster always saying “Me want cookie.”?




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  23. Goddard father of liquid rocketry.
    von Braun former German scientist who was behind our man to the moon space missions.




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  24. Hell, even Woody Woodpecker and Al Lanz knew who Robert Goddard was and Igor Sikorsky who invented the helicopter. They were inside clips of old Woody Woodpecker cartoons I watched as a kid back in the 60’s.




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  25. last thing i’m gonna do is criticize any ones grammar. but i love to misspell and screw up punctualization and caps just to p.o. people. (except for PDJT)

    @Claudia. “Center around”

    had a college prof go ballistic on that one. To see educated people using that term. . . . sigh.




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  26. And who can forget Bullwinkle J Moose’s alma mater Wassamattu? I love mala- propisms, the deliberate mangling of the English language in a funny and humorous and often satirical way. The Bowery Boys rock!




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  27. OK how about a sign in a Jersey City (I was there for a year after 9/11) window of a tax business: “Rabit refund.” Combination of Arabic speaker (no p sound in Arabic) and some American accent where they make d sound like t. I couldn’t believe the sign maker actually let it go through.

    But as for grammar/punctuation, I am so totally on the same page. I hate “loose” for “loose” and the pretentious sounding “I” when it should be “me.” My personal pet peeves (I have three or four) are: apostrophes where they don’t freaking belong, random capitalization of common nouns and comma overuse. Oh yes and when people use commas and semi-colons interchangeably.

    Now I wonder how many mistakes I made above?




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  28. Rathaus July 7, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    I hate “loose” for “loose”

    I find this formerly editable post, funny. Good job.




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  29. We were so poor we couldn’t use pronouns, we used amatuernouns.
    And nothing is so embarrassing as letting your participle dangle.




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  30. Geoff/aardvark

    Making change….I judge people on whether they got a clue…or not.

    I know, I know…thou shall not judge. But g’dammit if you can’t make change without a f’ing screen….you are a ‘looser’.

    A product of our public school system.

    God help us




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  31. Making change was one of my late dad’s biggest pet peeves. It pissed him off to no end, he taught my 4 brothers and I how to do it at the gas station when we were all about 13 or 14 years old and started working for him pumping gas how to properly make change with customers after the customer bought gas from us or had work done on their cars. And to thank them for being our customers and that the customer was almost always right, if a customer had a problem with us we were sure to hear about it, believe me. Service with a smile, sell Shell (we were a Shell dealership) like hell all while wearing those idiotic clip on bow ties back in those days.




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  32. When I went to school the first half the year was grammar the second half literature. Loved the literature part. Hated the grammar part and as a result I’m in no state to be a grammar tyrant. But that being said. A friend with a PhD in biology writes a blog and always writes – me and John – when referring to himself and his blogger buddy. That makes me cringe. But they are in the UK. Maybe they abide by different rules. They do have that whole footpath/ torch thing going on which every America knows it should be sidewalk / flashlight.

    The most useful thing about using a slide rule is you have to become skillful at doing math in your head to know the correct number to read off the scale. When I was in USN nuclear power school (1973), the big Picket slide rule was the tool of choice. One nerdy machinist mate in the class, who probably couldn’t get a date if he paid for it, had the cash & purchased an HP electronic calculator. That cost $450 that couldn’t do the higher exponents and natural log calculations we had to do in class. After digital calculators became more functional, and available at lower cost my math skills declined. However, no longer doing math problems twelve hours everyday probably contributed to the decline.




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  33. ….okay…..now let’s discuss the SUBJECTIVE TENSE…..

    ….as in …..if i WERE king……i would have been a trannie…….

    that they’re’s MY pet peeve……




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  34. I can’t remember for sure who it was exactly, but I vaguely remember an old buddy getting arrested for dangling his participle in public.




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  35. My current pet peeve is when someone says ‘I’s’ instead of ‘my’. For example, a YouTuber was giving a tour of her and her husband’s newly renovated home. She referred to their bedroom as “Ed’s and I’s new bedroom” Grrr!!




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  36. Next up for discussion – the subjunctive.
    After that, the real meaning of moot.

    In college I tutored beginning and intermediate French. It was obvious those struggling did not understand English grammar and couldn’t grasp grammar in another language. Once they understood grammar in their native language it was much easier for them to learn French.




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  37. Hey Claudia, please forgive me for unknowingly pushing your buttons. You’d fit right in with my family of educators. As for me? I don’t give a shit any more. Please forgive.




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  38. Frankly my dear I/me don’t give a damn…

    It’s hard for me/I to care when struggling in a fourteen dollar world with only a nickel brain.

    Now on the math front Sister Mary Pain made me faster than/then any calculator fer ciphering…




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  39. barry was the worst at always appropriating the excessive use of the words I and me for everything he did.




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  40. I can’t begin to tell how many police officers and sergeants with masters degrees would start their reports with “Myself and Ofc. So and so responded to….”. Drove me crazy. My Officers always called me a grammar Nazi. I spent more time with basic corrections to their reports, felt like I was an English teacher rather than a police supervisor.




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  41. I still “grammar Nazi” my grown children, and they still call me that, and occasionally call me out on an error I make. But they speak better English then most of their contemporaries. Fun family times.
    As well as all the peeves listed above, one of my biggest is the use of the word “kids” when talking about children. A “kid” is a baby goat, not a child.




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  42. Too many things to comment on (upon?), but I loved every comment.

    Is this an IOTW record for the number of comments on a post?

    I will say that the I/me thing bugs me, too.




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  43. I’m completely on board with the me/I misuse and the too/to/two and there,their,they’re. Grammar 101, it ain’t that hard.

    Recently though my pet peeve is people who name their children completely ridiculous names spelled in a completely ridiculous fashion e.g.

    Jawga
    Londyn
    Jacklynn
    Qyntyn

    Yes, I have seen these in real life. There are more but I can’t recall them at the moment.




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  44. if you were from Brooklyn it could be woise, you’d probably say dese and dose and everything is for the boids. And say dem instead of them, like they used to say about the Brooklyn Dodgers calling dem Dodgers and dem losers (loosers) and dem bums. As well as using dat for that.




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  45. I was once in Dallas and the guy I was with and I were talking to a cab driver about a certain historical site. He said it was on “Ellum Street.”

    “Ellum Street?”

    Then we realized he was saying “Elm Street.”




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  46. And who can forget the classic Chuck Jones Warner Brothers cartoon from the late 1940’s Mouse Wreckers with the two mischievious mice Bert and Herbie (Boit and Hoibie) who terrorize and drive Claude the cat absolutely banana winkies so they can take over the house. It’s one of my favorites at destroying the English language as well as still as hilarious as all get out 70 years later.




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  47. @Mrs radiomattm: I knew a former schoolteacher who had taught in a predominately
    Black school. She shared with me some of the more – um, – “creative” names of her students. The one I liked best was a girl who was named “Lavoris”.

    🙂




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  48. Claudia, you’re my spirit sister (is that a thing?)! I’m a grammar and spelling nazi on Facebook, but it’s all in good fun.




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  49. How about a rant on double subjects? It’s become a “stylistic choice” and it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.




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  50. Kemosabe = “Trusty Scout”

    It’s in Episode … uhh … one of them thar episodes of “The Lone Ranger.”

    izlamo delenda est …




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  51. Just one of my pet peeves is, “Where are you at?”. NO NEED FOR THE WORD AT!!! Aaaaarrrrggggghhhh 🙂




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  52. One that is everywhere and drives me crazy is people using apostrophes for plural nouns. Idiot’s




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  53. Bless you, Claudia. 😀

    I don’t correct people unless I’m being paid to do it. If I get what they’re trying to express in a tweet or a comment, it’s not so important how they say it. But when you see professional writers (i.e., “journalists”) or other educated people writing as if English is their second language (when you know it isn’t), it’s aggravating.




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