I have met people with PhD’s who say things like this:
“Her and me went to the movies.”
“This gift is for she and I.”
While this may peg me as a language snob, I think twice before I listen to a surgeon who says, “This is a situation for I to be concerned about. Trust me.”
Oh yeah? I’m going to feel good about a first-generation English speaker who, after, what? 10, 12, 14 years of higher education learning how to use a knife still doesn’t know when to use “me” and “I” correctly in a sentence? What else did he miss?
At the same time, I recognize that this particular problem — when to say “Him and Me” and when to say “He and I” — is one that stumps a lot of people (the only time it really bothers me is when the people it stumps hold PhD’s).
There are other things that good, intelligent people have issues with: Is It’s Is or Its? Does anybody use Whom anymore? Is it really a sin to end a sentence with a preposition? And while we’re on the subject, what is a sentence, anyway?
Because I’m a writer — and a daughter whose mother was insistent that I know the meaning and use of the nominative and accusative cases — these questions don’t bother me. But I know that they bother others, and for this reason I wrote Grammar Despair, an easy-to-read, user friendly guide with the answers to some of writing’s most common questions.
Grammar Despair is initially available in e-book form (I’m working on the hard copy; I’ll let you know when it’s ready) at Amazon.com. You don’t need an e-reader to access it, because Amazon can download it directly to your computer — on the right of the Amazon page, below the Buy Now with One Click button, hit the Deliver To drop-down box and choose Transfer Via Computer. You can also read it on your Kindle, iPad, iPod, or Droid.
On the Amazon site, you can look inside the book, including the complete table of contents, to see what you get for the same price as one of those flavored coffee frappuccino things. Just add me to the order with your muffin, please.
More and more people are writing these days — blogs, e-mails, business letters, articles — and while we can say that it’s prescriptive and narrow to insist on certain language conventions, at some point, it matters that we address these issues correctly.
I can help you with that.
Just click on the issue of the book cover, and it will take you to the Amazon page where you can peek inside.
Carolyn, I’m a trigger-ready grammar fanatic too, but I also feel blessed to remember that there are areas where I am not so hot (like math, for instance.) One of my late aunts was an example of spelling awfulness. She would misspell the same word three times or more in a single written epistle! But her epistles were not to be missed!!! They were nearly poetry, so beautiful they were! Why? Well, it had to do with the source…these days I think my aunt would have a label/catagory somewhere in the dyslexic/adhd neighborhood. She was a genius, but childlike, and so extremely free creatively. She was healthy enough not to let her writing be curtailed by being fussy with spelling and other oddities of the written word. She produced a creative daughter whose life oozed original beauty, both written and artistic.
So, I hope people will forgive me for forgetting my nines tables unless I go through a mnemonic process. They might overlook it if I were to show them my excellence at plane geometry? Or my published poem or short story?
Meanwhile, I have produced a son who is a self-labeled “grammar nazi”, and who is shaping his kids into graceful users of our eccentric language, English. Not sure if he is also teaching them intolerance of others who are not blessed with such a father. )