Friday, March 03, 2006

I, He, She, They v. me, him, her, them - it's a dilemma!

I must admit that bad grammar does tweak at my nerve endings. I also must admit I am sometimes guilty of it. I do try to present my thoughts in complete sentences with proper spelling and punctuation. But I do occasionally need an edit button (and a dictionary and a thesaurus. Luckily these are available on-line!) so that I may correct the mispellings and missteps. I try not to be a butcher of the language and I also try not to nitpick the writings of others. HOWEVER... misuse of the word pairs in the title is one of the common errors that really, really, really bugs me. (Did I say really? Good, because I really mean it!)

A few of my friends, and fellow bloggers, have pointed out some things that, to them, can be "grammatical fingernails on a blackboard." (see Dorothy) I thought I'd join the fray and point out some of those fingernails of mine! Some things that make me squirm and scrunch up my face as I try to avoid the sound I hear in my head as I read some, well, horrible sentence structures uttered by seemingly well-educated people)! This post is about one, with more to come. I'm sure!

Today, an Assistant U.S. Attorney offers a classic example the misuse of title words - and one of my big pet peeves - when to use I v. me; she v. her; he v. him.

"Her and Mr. Williams are equal partners," said Assistant U.S. Attorney [name deleted to protect..., nah] Michael Rich.


Try removing "and Mr. Williams..." Would 'Her' stand alone in this sentence? Of course not! "She and Mr. Williams...", "Mr. Williams and she..." or "Mr. Williams was an equal partner with her", but PUH-LEASE not "Her and Mr. Williams... "

I sometimes have to stop and think (imagine that, stopping to think!) before I type or say something, or even after, because it sounds wrong, yet right, yet wrong. Does anybody else stop and think? I wonder if the Assistant U.S. Attorney has seen his words in print. I wonder if he even realizes they are wrong!

1 comment:

Dorothy said...

Ah Kathleen, that is a good one. So egregious that even in spoken language it ought not be tolerated. I don't think I have used her as a subject.

Have to admit though that when I was working at the bookstore and had to converse with customers, I found that my oral grammar could be hideous. I dunno, something about being put on the spot, answering a random assortment of questions, but I would sometimes find myself saying the most outrageous things, especially not matching subject and verb. After saying something like "those books is good" I would just want to melt into the floor. I'd inwardly cringe and want to beg forgiveness, want to explain that I didn't usually make errors like that. Only, I couldn't.