What’s Wrong With Me?

I hate to be obnoxious, but I have a pet peeve that of late, has been driving me crazy.  It is not bad enough that we have totally bastardized the English language by removing whole words as if they’re simply too much trouble to say for example; Kentucky Fried Chicken is now officially KFC, extra virgin olive oil is EVOO, salt and pepper became S & P, and now even JC Penny’s department store has joined the band wagon with their new ads for “JCP.” Don’t even get me started on TTYL, OMG and TY. I have a theory that all this chaos started with IHOP, but that’s another blog. 

My literary peeve this time, is about a simple (yet common) grammatical error. It appears to me that no one seems to know when to say “me” over “I” when speaking. I’m not talking about any gangsta clown who thinks that he is too cool for school; I’m talking about news casters, talk show hosts, DJ’s, etc. 

This morning while reporting on the upcoming Katie Couric talk show that will be debuting this Monday; our local anchorman said to his co-anchor, “she’ll be taking on a lot of subjects that are important to you and I.” Seriously?  You and I? You call yourself an anchorman? 

People seem to fear the word “me.” Maybe it takes them back to their childhood when they would rush into the house to ask their mother, “Can me and my friend go to the movies?” only to have their mom correct them by saying, “my friend and I.” In that case, mom was right. It would be; “can my friend and I go to the movies” … well it actually SHOULD BE May my friend and I go to the movies?” but again, another blog. 

The rule is very simple; “I” is a nominative pronoun and is used as a subject of a sentence, while “me” is an objective pronoun and used as an object. If that sounds too confusing, try this easy rule of thumb; simply remove the second party from the sentence to see if “I” or “me” is correct. For instance:

“Would you like to join James and I for dinner?”

Now remove James:

“Would you like to join I for dinner?” See how that can’t work? Now try it this way:

“Would you like to join James and me for dinner?” Once you omit James, it would still be correct, “Would you like to join me for dinner?” 

I remember my mother explaining it to me this very same way. My response was, “who is going to take the time to run the whole sentence in their head before they speak? It would take forever to hold a conversation!” She laughed and reassured me that once I had it down, I wouldn’t be running it in my head first. It will just come naturally. “You will however,” she continued, “always be aware of the people who get it wrong because it will sound silly to you.” She was 100% right. James laughs at me now as I sit and watch television, correcting out loud as if I can be heard by the offender. I guess it’s my version of being an armchair quarterback!

 I don’t know why people are so afraid of the word “me.” Maybe they think it just sounds smarter to say “I” but honestly folks, a misused “I” can make the listener cringe just as much as hearing you say “aint.”

 To be fair, this is one of the most common mistakes in the English language and I have even heard British people make the same mistake. I must admit with a British accent, it is even more amplified. I guess that everyone with an English accent automatically sounds somehow smarter to us Americans, so an obvious grammar mistake is all the more shocking.

 Please don’t misunderstand me; I would be the last person on earth to stand up on a soapbox to preach the benefits of proper grammar. I don’t’ even know all the rules of grammar.  Heck, I never even finished high school! That said, if I a guy like me can know enough not to say, “a guy like I,” then can’t we expect as much from our television news casters?

 Whew!  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Me is going to sign off now LOL!

 Until next time,

Don

8 Comments

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8 responses to “What’s Wrong With Me?

  1. Jeanne

    I totally agree with you on this one. And we all pretty much know not to end a sentence with a preposition. Now, will you please address the subject of when to use “who” or “whom” in a sentence? This one just kills me.

    • Jeanne, that brings to mind one of my favoritee quotes from that old TV show Designing Women.
      CHARLENE: I asked this Northern woman, “Where are y’all from?” And she said, “I’m from a place where we don’t end our sentences with prepositions.” So I said, “Okay, where are y’all from, bitch?”

  2. Marcia

    I’m with you, Don. I go insane listening to the news – the obvious grammatical mistakes that are made. We’ve lost the command of our own language. One of my pet peeves is the pronunciation of “often”. In school, we were taught that the “t” was silent. Not anymore. More people say “off ten”. Would you pronounce “soften” “sof ten”?

  3. christylamagna

    Oh my gosh, I am even more fond of you now that I was before. I was transported back to my language arts classes and started humming my prepositional phrases to myself again. I love the English language and am saddened by what is happening to it.

    I would love to chat with you about grammar pet peeves. I thought I was the only one.

    Here are my top three:

    When people say/write: 12 Noon or 12 Midnight

    Any adjective before the word unique

    The ‘word’ gonna

    J

    -C

    • LOL… Christy that is so funny because it’s so true. As if noon ever comes at 11:15 or maybe 12:45? In writing, it drives me crazy to see a whole string of adjectives for any reason! I mean just HOW good can one thing be?

  4. Laurie

    Once again my dear cousin, you are on the same page as all of us who were taught by our parents to speak correctly. ( well I do really “try”!) On so many occasions, I was corrected with the you and I/ you and me, my friend and I/me thing! I can always hear mom and dad in my head. LOL! However, growing up, where i grew up, and of course still actually live, the english language , well i like to call it “Belleville-eez” drives me crazy from time to time. Here’s one for you, what do you call that thing that makes heat in the room? Is it a radiator? or is it a Rat- e – a-tor? I always thought they radiate heat, no?? lol!! Love ya! Laurie

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