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,