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    #1

    personal and object pronoun

    Hello again,

    Some time ago I posted another thread related to the use of personal and
    object pronouns. I thought my problem was solved, but there are still some "tricky bits".

    The big problem is the use of 'me' and 'I' in sentences like the ones below:

    "You may think me and my friends are not good enough"
    "You may think my friends and I are not good enough"

    How come when the order of "my friends and I" and "me and my friends" changes, the pronoun changes? Either it doesn't and my first example is wrong, or the object pronoun 'me' is just a tricky thing.

    It's the same with some very frequent sentences like:

    "you and me need to have a little talk"
    (Wouldn't it be more correct to say: "you and I need to have a little talk"?)

    "she and he need to have a little talk"
    (I figured this is correct, because if I can substitute 'they', which is a subject pronoun, for 'she and he' I figured two subject pronouns are okay)

    I've tried to use some different personal pronouns, to see if that could make it clearer:

    "You may think she and I are not good enough"
    (I wouldn't dare to change the 'I' into 'me' here)

    "You may think he and they aren't good enough"
    (This one sounds a little weird, but that's probably because I seldom use a combination like that)

    So, I think that was about it.
    I hope you can make this matter a little clearer for me,
    thanks in advance


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    #2

    Re: personal and object pronoun

    "You may think me and my friends are not good enough"
    "You may think my friends and I are not good enough"

    How come when the order of "my friends and I" and "me and my friends" changes, the pronoun changes? Either it doesn't and my first example is wrong, or the object pronoun 'me' is just a tricky thing.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The first sentence is grammatically wrong. "Me" cannot be the subject of the verb.

    You can test this by either of these tests:
    1) ONE TEST: Replace the two words with a "group" pronoun -- in this case "we" or "us" -- to see which case is correct
    - "You may think us are not good enough." <-- same case as "me"
    - "You may think we are not good enough." <-- same case as "I"


    2) ANOTHER TEST: You can also mentally delete the other person. Errors in pronoun case seem to occur only in the "me AND another" phrases. With only the first person pronoun involved, the correct case is usually obvious.
    - "You may think me am not good enough."
    - "You may think I am not good enough."


    It's common to put the word "me" before the other person, especially when the people are the objects of verbs (but not so much when the people are the objects of prepositions), or when the phrase is in isolation
    "Me and Julio down by the schoolyard"
    ~ Paul Simon

    > Carlton gave a pair of free tickets to my brother and me.
    > He reported me and my brother for something Sara did.

    There is no reason for this word order; it is just custom and usage.
    This custom accounts for the placement of "me" in the first sentence (even though "me" is incorrect and should not have been used.)

    It is also most common to place the word "I" AFTER the other person.
    > My brother and I thanked Carton for the ducats.
    > My brother and I were finally able to clear our names.

    The problem with the first sentence in your example is that the pronouns must be in the nominative. The first sentence is just grammatically wrong -- no matter which position the word "me" falls in. "Me" is the wrong case for the pronoun.

    "Me and my brother had a good time at the movie" is sometimes heard in the vernacular -- even among educated speakers who are speaking slangily-- but it is incorrect.

    -----------------------

    It's the same with some very frequent sentences like:
    "you and me need to have a little talk"
    (Wouldn't it be more correct to say: "you and I need to have a little talk"?)

    It is the ONLY correct way to say this.

    - You and me need to have a little talk" is just flat-out wrong.
    - The subject of the sentence HAS to be "I"
    - If you use "me" as the subject, you are saying "Us need to have a little talk" -or- "Me need to have a little talk."
    -
    --------------------------------

    "she and he need to have a little talk"
    (I figured this is correct, because if I can substitute 'they', which is a subject pronoun, for 'she and he' I figured two subject pronouns are okay)

    This is grammatical but odd. English speakers would almost always automatically change this to "They" or to "He and she."

    When "she" and "he" are specified as the subjects of a sentence (instead of "they"), the custom is to place "he" first:

    > He and his dog both love pizza.
    > He and she both know how to sky dive.

    There's no reason for this word order; it's just custom and usage.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I've tried to use some different personal pronouns, to see if that could make it clearer:

    "You may think she and I are not good enough"
    (I wouldn't dare to change the 'I' into 'me' here)


    You had better not dare! It is not optional. "I" is the subject of the verb, and "me" cannot be used in its place.

    "me" is the OBJECTIVE form of the pronoun -- it is the OBJECT of verbs and prepositions, never the subject.

    "I" can be the subject only, never the object of a verb or a preposition.

    > My mother watched my brother and me cross the street.
    ("me" is the object of the verb "watched')
    TEST: "My mother watched ME cross the street"
    -or- "My mother watched I cross the street"
    -- ?? which one?

    > He told me I had to finish my homework before I could watch TV.
    ("me" is the object of "told." "I" is the subject of "had to finish")

    > My mother watched as my brother and I crossed the street.
    ("I" is the subject of "crossed")
    TEST: "My mother watched as ME crossed the street"
    -or- "My mother watched as I crossed the street"
    -- ?? which one?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "You may think he and they aren't good enough"
    (This one sounds a little weird, but that's probably because I seldom use a combination like that)


    Yes, this is a perfect analysis of the sentence.

    > Fred and all his sisters were not respected in their town. Their mother said, "You may think he and they aren't good enough."





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    #3

    Re: personal and object pronoun

    Thanks very much, Ann, for your elaborate explanation. The use of the correct type of pronoun in a sentence where there is a double subject has always been a little tricky for me. You've provided me with a strong revision there and with some handy new advice as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    "Me and my brother had a good time at the movie" is sometimes heard in the vernacular -- even among educated speakers who are speaking slangily-- but it is incorrect.
    With the above, you have confirmed all of my suspicions about the dubious use of the objective form 'me' where it should actually be 'I'. So now I know that this sort of grammatical mistake is "acceptable", but only in slang. Moreover, I now know that it's the only one you can get a free pass for. No more abominations like "Jimmy and her went to the store". I don't even know how so gruesome a senctence could even pop up in my head!

    Also, as I was pondering this matter in the meantime I found two other examples that need a little verification from a native speaker:

    "It's just him"
    (This is the only way I have ever heard this and to me it seems like the only possible way. 'Him' should not be 'he', because it is the object here, am I right?)
    "Do we need someone besides Margareth? - No, just her"
    (I guess it's the same here)


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    #4

    Re: personal and object pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    I don't even know how so gruesome a senctence could even pop up in my head!
    LOL!
    It IS "gruesome!" What a perfect word!

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    Also, as I was pondering this matter in the meantime I found two other examples that need a little verification from a native speaker:

    "It's just him"
    (This is the only way I have ever heard this and to me it seems like the only possible way. 'Him' should not be 'he', because it is the object here, am I right?)
    These are difficult.

    The issue is that the verb "to be" is a so-called "copula" -- a "linking verb," meaning that it states an identity between its subject and its "object" -- which is not really a direct object of the verb, so it is called the "complement."

    "It is Bill" means that the subject "it" is identical to the complement "Bill."
    Therefore, the CASE of the subject carries over to the complement, so the complement ends up retaining its nominative case:
    "It is I."
    "It's only he."

    Those are technically correct.
    Copula (linguistics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The problem is that absolutely no one says them. Or at least, the few people who say "It is I" don't say "It's only he" -- although they MIGHT say "It is he."

    The actual daily use of the nominative case for complement pronouns is pretty much restricted to phrases where a following phrase assists the pronoun to sound more natural:
    - "It was he who vandalized the park benches! It was HE who broke those windows!"
    - "it was I who placed the order."

    In these cases, incorrectly saying "It was him who did it" or "It was me who did it" does still sound too clunky for educated speakers. I think the phrase is mentally understood to use "he" and "I" as subjects of "who did it" -- even though this is not correct (I believe).

    However, in the present tense, the verb can disappear more easily, so I think this is common:
    "It's me who gets up early every morning -- not you!"
    "It's him who's leaving coffee rings on the table, not Sally."

    The expression "It is I" is usually used (when it is used at all) mostly to be funny -- to pretend to a mock pomposity, or perhaps to represent a pompous person like a stuffy butler or a pompous old professor -- and it's said in a funny, deep, fake-grave voice, like a movie butler's way of speaking.

    So "It's only me" and "It's only him" are universally used, even though they are technically wrong.

    "It is I" is heard, but only in special cases of stuffiness.

    "It is he who ... " and "It was I who. . ." are always used, and they are technically correct.

    " It was we who . . " is something I have never heard. If I had to say this, I would simply avoid it: "We were the ones who picked up after the party." Possibly this avoidance is due to the mismatch between the singular "it was" and the plural "we."


    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    "Do we need someone besides Margareth? - No, just her"
    (I guess it's the same here)
    I don't think this is the same situation, because in this case, "Margaret" is in the objective case, so the pronoun should be in the objective case.
    - "Do we need someone besides her?" "No, just her" = "We need her only."


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    #5

    Re: personal and object pronoun

    Alright, once again I've learned a lot. Thanks again, Ann. But, you've also
    left me with a few new questions. This time, my problem revolves around the whole "it is I/it is he who..." structure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    in the present tense, the verb can disappear more easily, so I think this is common:
    "It's me who gets up early every morning -- not you!"
    "It's him who's leaving coffee rings on the table, not Sally."
    I'm having some trouble understanding the above. Why do sentences in the past tense (such as "it was I who dropped the plates") use a subject pronoun and those in the present tense an object pronoun?

    When I use sentences like that I'm used to following the rules for a relative pronoun. So, I would be more inclined to say:
    "It's I who get up every morning"

    I do hope that this too is a good way to say it, although I must admit that this sort of construction has always been problematic for me as we never covered it in class (a downright outrage, I think!).

    So, what is your opinion on this, as a native speaker?


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    #6

    Re: personal and object pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    Alright, once again I've learned a lot. Thanks again, Ann. But, you've also
    left me with a few new questions. This time, my problem revolves around the whole "it is I/it is he who..." structure.
    I'm having some trouble understanding the above. Why do sentences in the past tense (such as "it was I who dropped the plates") use a subject pronoun and those in the present tense an object pronoun?
    The problem is that in English, 99% of the time the pronoun after the verb is "me." So there is a tendency to generalize this even when it is not correct. People become habituated to saying "subject verb object," so it is almost unnatural to say "subject copula complement" -- even when you're supposed to.

    In some cases, the rest of the sentence makes it easier to say the correct thing, but in other cases, the surrounding words make it easy to say the WRONG (but familiar and "natural") thing.

    In the past tense, the verb "to be" becomes "was," and there's no easy contraction for "It was." That means that the phrase "It was I" is more likely to be said correctly.

    On the other hand, in the present, where the verb "to be" becomes "is," there is a common contraction for "It is." So the fact that there even is a verb there at all becomes less obvious. The verb is smothered and lost, no longer distinctive. "It's" is just a phoneme at that point, and it no longer feels like a clear subject-verb such as "It was."

    It is my opinion that this is what makes "it's me" not only more common, but also more acceptable. It just doesn't sound bad.

    knock knock knock
    "Who is it?"
    "It's me -- Dave."
    "Dave? Dave's not home, man."
    ~ Cheech and Chong comedy sketch

    It is my understanding that the use of predicate complements is fast disappearing from English anyway, and that in a couple of generations, only crabby old school marms will know anything about it.

    It has already disappeared in many cases, starting with "It's only me" and "It's only him."

    It's not that they're correct. (In fact, they're wrong.) It's just that this is the way people really speak, Correct or not, that's what we actually say. Eventually, the purists will give up, and the usage "It's only me" will be simply accepted.
    ------------

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    When I use sentences like that I'm used to following the rules for a relative pronoun. So, I would be more inclined to say:
    "It's I who get up every morning"
    And you'd be right to say it that way.

    The problem is that you would be the only correct person in the United States.

    Not only would almost everyone say "It's me who," but there would be almost no one who would say "get."

    EVEN IF you found someone who (in ordinary conversation) says, "It's I who . . ." that person would still say "gets up." Not because it's right (it isn't right), but just because that is what we say. It would sound incredibly affected to say "It is I who take out the garbage every day. It is I who slop the hogs."

    The expression "It is I who am always early for school" is so rare as to sound freakish. Even if someone were to say "It is I who . . ", they would say "It is I who is always early." (Not that this is correct -- only that this is universal.)

    In fact, there is a Bible passage where Moses says to God (who is in the form of a burning bush), "Who are you?" God answers, "I am who am." This passage is incomprehensible to most people nowadays because they don't know that the nominative case has carried over to the predicate. Of course, this was known to the translators in 1611, but the usage has essentially disappeared from modern English. As a consequence, this passage is almost always misinterpreted as "I am who I am" or even "I am what I am" -- even by trained theologians.


    I imagine native speakers are construing "who" as a third person pronoun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    I do hope that this too is a good way to say it, although I must admit that this sort of construction has always been problematic for me as we never covered it in class (a downright outrage, I think!).
    LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    So, what is your opinion on this, as a native speaker?
    LOL! I just think there's a difference between what is prescribed in the books and what is actually said.

    Oh -- I wanted to add that it is not just in cases of
    "Me and my brother (or "my brother and me") had a big fight yesterday" that you are likely to hear "me" used (incorrectly) as a subject.

    > The expression "You and me" (sometimes "Me and you") is also very commonly said as the subject of a verb:
    - "You and me should go shopping tomorrow."
    - "Me and you are going to get into a big fight if you don't knock it off."
    This would be slang for educated speakers.

    > "Me" is commonly used when the word or its phrase is in isolation:

    - "Who is it?" "Me."
    (I think this is what led to "It's me" and "It's only me.")
    I don't think I have ever heard anyone answer "Who is it?" by saying "I"

    - "You and me against the world.
    Sometimes it seems like you and me against the world"
    ~
    Helen Reddy

    The expression "She and me" is not often heard, nor "He and me." It is my opinion that they are avoided on the grounds that they sound goofy because the pronouns rhyme. Unfortunately, the "fix" is likely to be "Me and him are going to the movies" or "Me and her have the same birthday." This usage does make educated speakers wince.

    Pronouns are never used incorrectly when they are alone with the verb or preposition. The same person who always says "Me and my friend were talking about this yesterday" would NEVER say "Me went to the store."
    - - - - - -

    Schoolteachers spend so much time railing against the usage "Me and my friends" that people have ended up thinking that there is something bad about the word "me."

    So now there is a reverse tendency to use "I" for the objective case -- in the desire not to say "me."

    Now it is common to hear: "just between you and I" and "He asked my son and I if we wanted to go to the head of the line."

    This is a problem for politicians, who get letters "correcting" them if they say this right, and letters correcting them if they say it wrong.

    When President Clinton said in a televised speech that he wanted to thank the citizens for "the support you have given to Hilary and ___" -- he was stumped. If he said "me," he would get a flood of mail telling him he was supposed to say "I."

    He solved this cleverly. He said, "I want to thank everyone for the support you have given to Hilary and to me." By using a phrase with only one pronoun, he was able to use the correct one without the "me-avoiders" thinking it sounds wrong.
    - - - - - -

    Sometimes "me" is incorrectly replaced with "myself." I caught a lawyer friend of mine writing, "Please send a copy to my client and myself."

    I HATE this use, and the use of "I" instead of "me."
    Last edited by Ann1977; 14-Sep-2009 at 11:12.


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    #7

    Re: personal and object pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    The problem is that in English, 99% of the time the pronoun after the verb is "me." So there is a tendency to generalize this even when it is not correct. People become habituated to saying "subject verb object," so it is almost unnatural to say "subject copula complement" -- even when you're supposed to.
    I guess that's the problem (although I wouldn't really call it that) with any language. One form, whether it is the correct one or not, supresses the other and becomes accepted by the masses. Only the true die hards will stick with what "once was" the correct form until they will eventually have to yield to this never ending language evolution.

    What I would call the real problem is the decision a speaker, be it a native or non-native speaker, has to make: either to go with what is right or to go with the flow. The tricky bit with that is of course, if you don't want to sound "weird" or even worse, "snotty", you really have but the one option and that is to go with the flow...

    The whole "it's me who is mistaken" (wrong, but generally accepted)versus "it's I who am mistaken" (right, but fallen in disuse) thing just proves that there is no fighting it. You said it yourself: I would be the only one in the US who would use the right form there.

    I guess that in the end it's all about being understood by the other person and not so much about being one hundred percent grammatically correct all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    Sometimes "me" is incorrectly replaced with "myself." I caught a lawyer friend of mine writing, "Please send a copy to my client and myself."
    ...And sometimes the exact opposite happens, when people want to be too correct. These kinds of perversions rear their ugly heads when people try to be too formal. This is not even that big of an abomination, sometimes people write such weird things in a haughty attempt to sound high and mighty, bending and twisting their words and grammar so violently, that you start wondering "is this even English?".

    So, my conclusion would be: in everyday conversation, the best would be to just go with the flow and "pervert" the language accordingly to be understood by the Average Joe. And as for what said Joe would call pedantry, let the purists, linguists and language lovers like you and me debate on it and have our fun. We may not be able to fight the changes the English language (and any other language, for that matter!) undergoes, but at least we have our fun trying to do so in vain!


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    #8

    Re: personal and object pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    I guess that's the problem (although I wouldn't really call it that) with any language. One form, whether it is the correct one or not, supresses the other and becomes accepted by the masses. Only the true die hards will stick with what "once was" the correct form until they will eventually have to yield to this never ending language evolution.

    What I would call the real problem is the decision a speaker, be it a native or non-native speaker, has to make: either to go with what is right or to go with the flow. The tricky bit with that is of course, if you don't want to sound "weird" or even worse, "snotty", you really have but the one option and that is to go with the flow...

    The whole "it's me who is mistaken" (wrong, but generally accepted)versus "it's I who am mistaken" (right, but fallen in disuse) thing just proves that there is no fighting it. You said it yourself: I would be the only one in the US who would use the right form there.

    I guess that in the end it's all about being understood by the other person and not so much about being one hundred percent grammatically correct all the time.



    ...And sometimes the exact opposite happens, when people want to be too correct. These kinds of perversions rear their ugly heads when people try to be too formal. This is not even that big of an abomination, sometimes people write such weird things in a haughty attempt to sound high and mighty, bending and twisting their words and grammar so violently, that you start wondering "is this even English?".

    So, my conclusion would be: in everyday conversation, the best would be to just go with the flow and "pervert" the language accordingly to be understood by the Average Joe. And as for what said Joe would call pedantry, let the purists, linguists and language lovers like you and me debate on it and have our fun. We may not be able to fight the changes the English language (and any other language, for that matter!) undergoes, but at least we have our fun trying to do so in vain!
    Felip, first let me tell you that I have seldom had the pleasure of reading such a well-done piece of writing outside of published sources. Not one native speaker in one hundred would be able to produce such a lively, interesting, informed, and grammatically correct essay. I don't think there were even as many as ten teeny details that even the fussiest of editors would blue pencil.

    It's all the more remarkable because English is not your first language.

    You might consider forgiving your teachers for their outrageous pronoun omissions.
    -----------------------------------

    The goal in teaching English, it seems to me, should not be so much to eradicate "It's only me" as to give people the ability to make informed decisions about what they want to say.

    Here's a naive use of "Me and my friend"
    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/ed...ort-story.html

    But an English professor laughing in the Faculty Lounge might elect to say,
    "Me and my gang of Grammar Cops are gonna hunt down any student who misuses pronouns and harass them until they get it right" -- using a conscious and partially-conscious mix of comedy, slang, and vernacular speech.

    But probably this same person was far more cautious when she wrote her application to the University for the position.

    I think people have trouble with "My friends and I are going on a whale watch" for several reasons:

    1) The pronoun I just cries out to be followed by "am," so it feels uncomfortable to begin with
    2) The subject has one plural and one singular pronoun, so it's already awkward -- like "He and they are not accepted."
    3) "I are" is hard to say. You end up pronouncing it /I yarr/ -- like you're trying to dislodge a chicken bone caught in your jaws. "/I yarr/" makes you feel like you're talking like a pirate: "Aye aye! Aarrrgh, matey! Shiver me timbers!"
    4) So the first "fix" is to move I to the front, so that the plural form of the verb can be near the plural part of the subject: "I and my friends are going on a whale watch."
    5) ". . . and my friends are . . " sounds better than " . . . and I are . . " any day.
    6) But now you run into the problem that "I" is not usually put first. "You and I" is heard thousands of times more often than "I and you."
    7) So then you just give up and say "Me and my friends are going on a whale watch."

    Educated speakers automatically flip between levels of formality without even thinking about it; uneducated speakers are stuck with bad grammar without even knowing it. Education offers them a choice. Educated African-Americans, for example, sometimes say that they are almost bilingual; they can choose to speak the highly-altered slang of the inner city, or to use speech appropriate for the classroom or the Boardroom. Uneducated people have no choice.
    -----------------------------------
    Some incorrect grammar gets a pass, as you noted, when it is used in the right context. But other grammatical errors are just an embarrassment to educated speakers because there is no way they can be construed as slang or jokes -- they're just wrong.

    > Using "I" or "myself" as an object is just plain wrong. It's an embarrassment, and in my opinion, worse than the honest yeoman's unaffected "my friend and me" used as a subject.

    This is the most common error heard nowadays among educated speakers, but a close second is the conflation of the subjunctive with the conditional:

    > "If I would have known, I would never have applied for that job."

    I HATE that! I see both of these even in print (in second-rate newspapers anyway.)
    -----------------------------
    My three pet peeves are:

    - "I" or "myself" in place of "me"
    - "If I would have" in place of "If I had"
    - "have went" in place of "have gone"

    I HATE those.

    I guess if someone ever says in my hearing, "If I would have known, I would never have went on a picnic where so many ants were going to swarm all over my baby and myself," I might spontaneously melt.


    --------------------------------

    And forming the plural with 's. I hate that too.
    One time I refused to buy anything in a shop because the sign said
    GRAPE'S
    Last edited by Ann1977; 14-Sep-2009 at 22:03.


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    #9

    Re: personal and object pronoun

    It's almost impossible for me to put into words how I felt when I read your compliment. I was almost moved to tears, honestly! I've always dreamed of getting praise from a native English speaker for my efforts to speak English the best I can. A lifelong dream coming true before I'm even 18 years old!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    The goal in teaching English, it seems to me, should not be so much to eradicate "It's only me" as to give people the ability to make informed decisions about what they want to say.


    I couldn't agree more with what you said here. A teacher's primary objective should be to instruct the basics (because as they always say: you can never know the basics well enough). Of course, I can completely understand that there are truly devoted teachers who fear that if they don't teach their students what's grammatically correct and what's not, no one will. After all, teachers are only trying to do their job the best they can, and that job is to share their knowledge. Preferably all of it because that would be ideal. But as a student, I can definitely testify that understanding something is about wanting to more that it is about having to. Most students are more than happy with just the basics and have no intention whatsoever to study the language process in further detail. In the end, that's not necessarily a bad thing. One way or another, they might pick up on that advanced stuff anyway whilst going through "the school of life", without even realizing it themselves. Thankfully, teachers can always reach out to that one select group of kindred spirits among their students who are more than willing to take their understanding of the language to the next level. You might say that it's a win-win situation, although I might just be oversimplifying things a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    I think people have trouble with "My friends and I are going on a whale watch" for several reasons:

    ...


    Whow, that was indeed a long list of issues someone can have when pondering what sounds "good" if they want to say something.
    This proves just how much people keep overthinking things. They stumble across all kinds of (what they think are) violations of logic ("I are? Hayo!") without looking at the greater whole ("My friend an I = we; we are...how come I missed this!") and what they end up with at the end of their cognitive journey through the treacherous grammatical wastelands is really the thing that sounds natural rather than the correct thing. It's the living proof that people are more inclined to trust their gut than their brain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    Educated speakers automatically flip between levels of formality without even thinking about it; uneducated speakers are stuck with bad grammar without even knowing it. Education offers them a choice. Educated African-Americans, for example, sometimes say that they are almost bilingual; they can choose to speak the highly-altered slang of the inner city, or to use speech appropriate for the classroom or the Boardroom. Uneducated people have no choice.


    Once again a fine demonstration of how multi faceted language can be. It is true what the African-Americans say, they really have become bilingual. You can say that the educated English is the original English and the Tongue of the Streets is more than just an altered form of that first type of English, it's almost a completely different language. This makes language so much richer. Granted, it also makes for some disadvantageous situations because as you said, uneducated speakers do not have the sufficient skill to speak the higher level English. And that's not surprising. After all, that kind of English is not their native language anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    Some incorrect grammar gets a pass, as you noted, when it is used in the right context. But other grammatical errors are just an embarrassment to educated speakers because there is no way they can be construed as slang or jokes -- they're just wrong.


    At some point, what is incorrect just becomes correct. All depends indeed on the crowd you're addressing. And right you are, some things are just dead wrong, no matter who you're talking to. And perhaps those mistakes need the attention far more than the dubious cases mentioned above. Some wrong grammar has already found a chance to root itself deeply into everyday use and itís simply impossible to weed it out, itís a war we canít win anymore. Yet we can still take up arms against more recent horrors like the erroneous use of Ďmyselfí and nip these in the bud before it gets any worse.

    I too get bothered with peopleís blatant ignorance of English sometimes. One time, in English class (and that was this school year, we had like 5 years of English behind us!), I heard someone say ďI didnít heard itĒ. I really had to bite my lip not to lash out at that girl! Also, a major issue here in Belgium besides grammar is pronunciation. You wouldnít believe how many people here can count to ďtreeĒ and use ďteetĒ to chew. My brother even thinks Iím a weirdo for speaking English with a casual (sorry) British accent. Now that really gets me started! I donít want people in Britain, Australia, the US and every other English speaking country to tell by my accent Iím from Belgium, each language has its own unique sounds and I think itís grossly unprofessional if you donít put some accent into your words, if you're able to.

    Maybe Iím sounding a bit posh, I donít know

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