Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2,036
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Object pronouns as predicate nouns? Why not?

    I know that this could be a little mind-bending for some of us. However, could it not be that "me", and other object pronouns, can function as predicate nouns in sentences that use the verb "be"? I think it's a lot better to say this than to say that "It's me" is wrong in prescriptive English grammar. I think this so-called "prescriptive rule" could be somewhat irrational.

    It's I. - Okay, say it if you want, but don't say that "It's me" is incorrect. Let's just say that in this case, and other such similar cases, "me" and other object pronouns can be predicate nouns. It's an exception to the "rule".

    Now, this certainly does not, and will not, give rise to the idea that something like "me is here" is okay because the exception here is for predicate nouns, not subjects.

    Okay, so that's the exception, and we don't have to say that sentences like "That would be her" or That would be them" are incorrect. They're correct because object pronouns can function as predicate nouns.

    So that's it. That's how it works.
    Last edited by PROESL; 11-Oct-2009 at 15:44.

  2. #2
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,892
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Object pronouns as predicate nouns? Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    However, could it not be that "me", and other object pronouns, can function as predicate nouns in sentences that use the verb "be"? I think it's a lot better to say this than to say that "It's me" is wrong in prescriptive English grammar. I think this so-called "prescriptive rule" could be somewhat irrational.
    According to Laurie Bauer, professor of theoretical and descriptive linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the "It is I" rule is just one example of how the rules of Latin grammar have been inappropriately forced on English.


    In the 18th century, Latin was widely viewed as the language of refinement--classy and conveniently dead. As a result, a number of grammar mavens set out to transfer this prestige to English by importing and imposing various Latin grammatical rules--regardless of actual English usage and normal word patterns. One of these inappropriate rules was an insistence on using the nominative "I" after a form of the verb "to be."


    Bauer argues that there's no point in avoiding normal English speech patterns--in this case, "me," not "I," after the verb. And there's no sense in imposing "the patterns of one language on another." Doing so, he says, "is like trying to make people play tennis with a golf club."


    Source


    Amazon.com: Language Myths (9780140260236): Laurie Bauer, Peter Trudgill: Books



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2,036
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Object pronouns as predicate nouns? Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    According to Laurie Bauer, professor of theoretical and descriptive linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the "It is I" rule is just one example of how the rules of Latin grammar have been inappropriately forced on English.


    In the 18th century, Latin was widely viewed as the language of refinement--classy and conveniently dead. As a result, a number of grammar mavens set out to transfer this prestige to English by importing and imposing various Latin grammatical rules--regardless of actual English usage and normal word patterns. One of these inappropriate rules was an insistence on using the nominative "I" after a form of the verb "to be."


    Bauer argues that there's no point in avoiding normal English speech patterns--in this case, "me," not "I," after the verb. And there's no sense in imposing "the patterns of one language on another." Doing so, he says, "is like trying to make people play tennis with a golf club."


    Source


    Amazon.com: Language Myths (9780140260236): Laurie Bauer, Peter Trudgill: Books


    Thanks for this information. It's yet another source for exposing myths about English and "grammar rules" in general.

    I've read at forums posts from an individual that insists on the absolute correctness of "It is I", while in later posts writing "That would be me" or "That would've been them". If that's not an admission to the irrationality of the so-called linking verb rule, then it's at the very least a contradiction, self-unawareness, and hypocrisy.

    Moving away from forums, I once, on a reflex, corrected someone for saying something like "it is he" when clearly "that's him" is usual and normal. It's amazing how indignant the person became. I suppose an English teacher doesn't like to be corrected by another English teacher.
    Last edited by PROESL; 11-Oct-2009 at 16:05.

  4. #4
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,892
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Object pronouns as predicate nouns? Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    I've read at forums posts from an individual that insists on the absolute correctness of "It is I", ... .
    Just curious, as a Business English teacher yourself, what advice do you offer your students when it comes to such forms?

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL
    Moving away from forums, I once, on a reflex, corrected someone for saying something like "it is he" when clearly "that's him" is usual and normal. It's amazing how indignant the person became. I suppose an English teacher doesn't like to be corrected by another English teacher.
    I hear you; mind you, it's par for the course with most people, irrespective of their profession, wouldn't you agree?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2,036
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Object pronouns as predicate nouns? Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Just curious, as a Business English teacher yourself, what advice do you offer your students when it comes to such forms?

    I hear you; mind you, it's par for the course with most people, irrespective of their profession, wouldn't you agree?
    Just curious, as a Business English teacher yourself, what advice do you offer your students when it comes to such forms?

    (This has turned into a long reply, though it didn't start out that way.)

    First, "business English" does not mean teaching and conforming to all the prescriptive and irrational rules that schoolmarms across America teach in grade school. No one learns these "rules" because they run counter to typical everyday speech patterns. Therefore, they are not really "rules". Language rules are not invented; they exist as a consequence of how the vast majority of native speakers use the language.

    Additionally, "business English" does not necessarily mean "formal English". It can, but not always. It depends on the business. Business English to an engineer is not the same as business English to someone who works in finance. Business English really means this: the English language that people use for work, at work, and in all work-related situations. Business English, in fact, means different things to different people.

    Now, here's my answer to your question: I do not teach them to adhere to this "linking verb" rule. This so-called "linking verb rule" seems only to apply to "be".

    I tell them to use the usual and typical pattern that we hear in the English language every day. Americans I speak with in business do not say things like "That's she on the phone now." I don't really need that as justification, however. I clearly understand how Americans speak the American English language simply as someone whose first language is English. I agree with the usage note in the American Heritage Dictionary: this can sound ridiculous. I agree with that as well with Geoffrey Pullum and Steven Pinker. Both of them say things about this invented rule to that effect. It's plain. Just the same, I really don't need the backing of scholarly voices to know how to teach my language.

    I might go on to explain to them why they hear "This is she" when some Americans answer the phone. I certainly have no concerns at all about contradicting, in a very direct manner, any such instruction they've received from other teachers who have told them that something like "It's I" is the correct form and we don't say "It's me". It's not very common to find, but I believe that there are teachers who are that misguided and impractical. They value and take pride in their own preferences and opinions before they value practical language teaching for the benefit of the student.


    Even if everyone could follow it, in informal contexts the nominative pronoun often sounds pedantic and even ridiculous, especially when the verb is contracted, as in It's we.

    be: Definition, Synonyms from Answers.com

    Most contexts, even in business, are informal. Even in more "formal" contexts, however one defines "formal context", "That's she now" sounds ridiculous, just as the AHD usage note and other articles indicate. I don't even believe that understanding the "rule" in the first place provides an argument for saying "that's she" is correct. In fact, "that's her" and "It's me" are correct because that's what nearly everyone says - 99.9 percent of everyone 99.9 percent of the time. Saying "It's I" can be spoken of as "wrong" just as "It's me" can be spoken of as "wrong". It works both ways, though I woud sooner call "It's I" wrong before I would say "It's me" is wrong. Saying "It's me" is correct in every way one can understand the word "correct" in the context of teaching English and English grammar.


    I hear you; mind you, it's par for the course with most people, irrespective of their profession, wouldn't you agree?

    Yes, I agree.
    Last edited by PROESL; 12-Oct-2009 at 16:43.

  6. #6
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,892
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Object pronouns as predicate nouns? Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Saying "It's me" is correct in every way one can understand the word "correct" in the context of teaching English and English grammar.
    Agreed.

  7. #7
    stuartnz's Avatar
    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • New Zealand
      • Current Location:
      • New Zealand
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,370
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Object pronouns as predicate nouns? Why not?

    A must-read book, in my opinion. Bauer and some of his colleagues from the Victoria University Linguistics department also write occasional columns for stuff.co.nz, a NZ news website. I recommend looking out for them if you are interested in linguistics.

  8. #8
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,892
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Object pronouns as predicate nouns? Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    A must-read book, in my opinion. Bauer and some of his colleagues from the Victoria University Linguistics department also write occasional columns for stuff.co.nz, a NZ news website. I recommend looking out for them if you are interested in linguistics.
    It's a good read, true.

    _______________
    I am a linguist.

Similar Threads

  1. Object or subject pronouns?
    By rggg1971 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 16-Oct-2009, 03:27
  2. subject and object pronouns
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Jan-2008, 10:54
  3. subject and object pronouns
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Jan-2008, 06:04
  4. sentence analysis
    By hela in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 27-Apr-2007, 11:41
  5. Predicate and Object Noun!
    By Farhaj in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 16-Mar-2005, 06:22

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •