Growing Grammar Geeks

The dictionary defines a geek as:

geek

[geek] Show IPA

noun Slang .
1. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
2. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.

I admit it – I am a grammar geek.


One of my pet peeves is hearing/reading ‘… and I’ when it should be ‘… and me’.  My children will tell you how annoying it is when I hear a radio presenter say, ‘Pick up the phone and give Sally and I a call’ and I mutter, ‘Sally and ME.’

Or when pastors say, ‘Jesus died for you and I,’ I cringe a little at the grammatical error.

I guess the grammar lesson is now firmly entrenched because while we listened to something today, the speaker made several mistakes of this kind and my children cast sidelong glances at me each time he made it.  Yikes!! Grammar geeks?

‘But I remember being taught to say “you and I” when I was young!’ the protestors exclaim.

Young child: Me and her are going to buy a present.
Parent: She and I.
(Young child:  Oh, did you want to join in?)

Let’s break down that sentence.
#1: She is going to buy a present.
#2: I am going to buy a present.
#1 and #2: She and I are going to buy a present.

‘She’ and ‘I’ are the subjects of the sentence and therefore must take a subjective form. Subjective pronouns are: he, she, I, you, we, they.

Young child: The present is  from she and I.
Parent: Her and me.
Young child: But you just said it should be ‘she and I’!!

Let’s break down that sentence:
#1: The present is from her.
#2: The present is from me.
#1 and #2: The present is from her and me.

In this case, ‘her’ and ‘me’ are the objects of the sentence and therefore must take an objective form. Objective pronouns are : him, her, me, you, us, them.

Hot tip: When in doubt, break the sentence up and see what pronoun(s) you would use and then just use them accordingly in the compound form.

It might take some getting used to.  A book had this great quote:  ‘It sounds wrong because we aren’t used to saying it right.’  This could not have been more clearly demonstrated to me than in the following story.

A friend once sent me a draft copy of an invitation that said, ‘Please join my family and I…’ I gently told her that it should read, ‘Please join my family and me…’ (Please join my family + Please join me).  She accepted that ‘…and me’ was grammatically correct but just could not bring herself to phrase it that way.  The final draft of the invitation read, ‘My family and I would like to invite you…’

Yes, I’m a grammar geek.

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Posted on Sunday, August 14th, 2011, in Grammar, Home Schooling, Humour, Language. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. ROFLOL

    And don’t even get me started on ‘less’ and ‘fewer’. Most people can get ‘how much’ and ‘how many’ correct–why can’t they do ‘less’ and ‘fewer’?

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  2. To be honest, I sometimes get confused with the right use of ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ and have to stop and think ‘Is it countable?’ before I make my word choice. I blame it to being exposed to wrong usage! 🙂

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  3. Yes, but I’m pretty sure you’d agree that if the sign says “12 items or…” the next word should be “fewer”!

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  4. Full admission here: This is something I learned rather late in life. But, yes, I know that the correct word in your example is ‘fewer’. And many (if not all) stores I have seen here use ‘less’, so this misuse happens here, too!

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