Monday, January 23, 2012

Pet Peeve #772

Is it too much to ask that people who are fluent in English should know how to use pronouns? Very educated  people don't know when to use a subject pronoun and when to use an object pronoun. Sadly, sometimes I get the sense that a lot of very educated people aren't quite sure how to identify the difference between a subject pronoun and an object pronoun. I mean, they could probably tell you a dictionary difference, but I wonder if they could actually go through a series of sentences and identify which pronouns are subject and which are object.

But I can. Because my mother was an anal retentive grammar type. Probably because her father was. He was a newspaper man. The super old-fashioned kind who wore a fedora to work every day and typed on a manual typewriter. (Totally off subject, but all while he lived to the ripe-old age of 90, having been diagnosed with MS in his 30s. Had to give that shout-out to Grandpa.)

I know our mothers all corrected us about not using me when it should be I. But sometimes, it really should be me! Me is an ok word to use. Learn when to use him and he and her and she. (Hint: if you're starting a sentence "Her and I," you're probably wrong...)

I know I shouldn't care so much about this. I should let these mistakes go because people just misspeak sometimes and because it doesn't much matter. And I should probably recognize that this hang-up says much more about me than it does about anyone else. But I can't quite help myself. I really like language. I really like it when it's used correctly. Sigh. This is probably why I'm alone.

And, on a totally unrelated note, I'm also a huge fan of the Oxford comma. Because I think a ham and peanut butter and jelly sandwich sounds gross.

1 comment:

Nance said...

Seconding the Oxford comma. Also, may I rant a moment about the "journalistic They?" There is almost nothing that irks me more than this: "When reached by phone, the witness said they would testify if compelled to." I'm sorry, but THEY is PLURAL, and should only refer back to a PLURAL antecedent.

I am not sure when all Grammar Caution and Propriety was thrown to the far winds and the Universal Pronoun "he" was discarded to dispense with the admittedly unwieldy "his or her," but I lament it almost daily.

(Which is how often I pick up the newspaper and read examples of this egregious assault on The Language.) Urk.

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