Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Today's Grammar Pet Peeve

I alluded to this in the Breaking Dawn review, and now I've just seen someone on General Hospital make the same mistake, not to mention all the educated and intelligent people in my life that do the same thing...the incorrect use of the "I" pronoun. It drives me bonkers! It comes from some well-intentioned attempt to speak correctly, I'm sure. In fact, I have vivid memories of my parents reminding me as a child that I should always say the other person's name first, and then "I," (instead of, for example, "me and James got married," or even, "James and me got married", I should say, "James and I..."). Don't feel bad (not badly, by the way, but that's for another day) if you do it, because even published authors and professional television writers do it and get away with it.

So, here's the skinny on when to say what:

1. The pronoun "I" is a subject pronoun, no matter what. The rest of the sentence should either be about the person speaking, or that person and someone else.

Examples: I like ice cream. She and I think alike.

2. The pronoun "me" is always an object (direct or indirect) pronoun. In other words, it is not the subject of the sentence.

Examples: He loves me. (The word "me" is a direct object receiving the action of the verb "loves".) He bought the CD for me. (The word "me" is an indirect object telling for whom the action was done.)

Here's what NOT to do:

"He bought the CD for Andrew and I." NO, NO, NO! "He bought it for Andrew and me" is correct.

"Give it to Angela or I when you're finished." NO! Would you say, "Give it to I"? When in doubt, take the other person's name out and see what it sounds like. If it sounds wrong with just the one person in there, it IS wrong!

While we're at it, a lot of people misuse pronouns in general. I hear a lot of people say things like, "Him and I like the same team," or "Her and I have been married a long time." Ugggh! If you just can't remember that "him" and "her" are object pronouns, or even know what an object is, then use the trick I mentioned earlier. Obviously "Him like the team" only works for bad impressions of Frankenstein's monster, but that's because "him" can't be used as a subject, ever.

Okay, I didn't mean to rant, but General Hospital pushed me over the edge. ---T


Sarah said...

Oh how I love the grammar nazi, or is it how me love the.....or wait. Anyway, even though I am sure I commit these sins from time to time, it drives me crazy to see these mistakes from writers. Well put my friend and thanks for the lesson.

Tamara said...

Anytime, Sarah---better the grammar nazi than the gum nazi, right?

Stephanie said...

OK. Here I go with my first try on leaving a comment on your blog. Is this the only way? I thought I could just send you a random message from your blog site. I guess that's not true....?
Well, I have to go make breakfast for Steve and I. LOL

Tamara said...

Stephanie, I see the wittiness only runs on my side of the family. You are so NOT funny!
See how easy the commenting was?

Stephanie said...

the truth of the matter is, I was very excited to read your post because that is one of my biggest pet peeves. especialllllllllllly when I hear someone who should know better (i.e. a teacher)...
it makes my blood run cold!

Tamara said...

You obviously don't feel the same way about capitalization rules. I hope I've created a comment monster! Keep it up!

Stephanie said...

LOL. No I don't feel as passionate about capitalization as I do the I vs me issue. And by the way, neither does your blog. I type my name in with a capital S, however some cyber anti-capital genie keeps overriding me!!!