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Thread: I or me

  1. #11
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    Default Re: I or me

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen View Post
    I think formal grammar and informal/non-standard grammar are like two different sets of grammar.
    They can be.

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen
    It is certainly possible to copy a word/phrase/construction directly from another foreign language and say something ungrammatical in either formal English or in informal english.
    That's very true.
    `
    Quote Originally Posted by dihen
    some examples of constructions ungrammatical in either formal English or informal English:
    `
    "* I very like it." ("very" cannot directly modify a verb)
    `
    "* He not knows I am talking about what." (lack of WH-movement, "not" directly negating a verb)
    `
    "* Did you read his that book?" (determiners cannot appear after possessive determiners)
    Which ones are supposed to be formal and which informal?

    Dihen, I'm not quite sure I understand how your post follows the topic of this thread.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: I or me

    dihen, there is a connection. It's just that I'm not quite sure if it's the one I get. If you could explain your points, I am certain they would add more insight to the thread. After all, the reason we're here is to generate discussion and learn from one another.

  3. #13
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: I or me

    I like your stating that we learn from one another, but I'm more the learner than the teacher.

    I'm surprised that my topic 'I or me' seems to have gone off the course.

    All the best

  4. #14
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    Default Re: I or me

    It looks off topic, but it's not. Here's a summary.

    mykwyner replied to you, 'It is very common (and natural) for us to say, "These are them," "That is her," and "It is us," but they are not correct.' To which riverkid responded, 'Natural and common determines what is correct in grammar.'

    In other words, mykwyner tells us that what people say although natural and common isn't always considered grammatically correct, whereas riverkid adds that if speakers are using "me", that if "me" is natural and common, then it is grammatically correct. After all, speakers use rules and rules are the grammar. Now, here we have two posters who disagree on whether "me" is grammatically correct or not, and that's your question, right? So, to that debate, dihen offers a truce with this.

    '...formal grammar and informal/non-standard grammar are like two different sets of grammar.'
    And dihen is right. Why debate "me" or "I" when there are two choices available?

    In short, kohyoongliat, as an predicate nominal use either "my parents and I" or "my parents and me". The latter won't make you sound like a non-native speaker; the former might make you sound pedantic. In the end, it all depends on who your audience is at the time. As for writing, especially formal English, what do your role models do? What do your teacher think? Who's your audience? That's a good question to ask yourself.

    I use both.

    All the best.

  5. #15
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I or me

    Well, back to I and me. I am not a prescriptive grammarian, but I do teach people how to pass English tests written by prescriptive grammarians. The fact that nearly all native English speakers use objective personal pronouns after to be, split infinitives, and end sentences with prepositions does not preclude these so-called rules from appearing regularly in standardized tests. I regularly tell my students that such-and-such is correct in every context of written and spoken English except a standardized test.

    I don't know if other languages have "rules" that native speakers rarely (or never) follow, but English does.

  6. #16
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: I or me

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    It looks off topic, but it's not. Here's a summary.

    mykwyner replied to you, 'It is very common (and natural) for us to say, "These are them," "That is her," and "It is us," but they are not correct.' To which riverkid responded, 'Natural and common determines what is correct in grammar.'

    In other words, mykwyner tells us that what people say although natural and common isn't always considered grammatically correct, whereas riverkid adds that if speakers are using "me", that if "me" is natural and common, then it is grammatically correct. After all, speakers use rules and rules are the grammar. Now, here we have two posters who disagree on whether "me" is grammatically correct or not, and that's your question, right? So, to that debate, dihen offers a truce with this.


    Casi, this 'me/them/us' has nothing to do with the original poster's question. That question related to a coordinated noun/pronoun set. The issue raised by mykwyner is 'be verb + pronoun'.

    On this issue, traditional grammar is simply wrong. It was a "rule" devised to mirror Latin but as we all know, Latin is NOT English. Of course we use both because both are available to speakers of English. Subject pronoun is formal, object pronoun is informal but both are standard

    Here's another portion from the same quote. It illustrates how these rules have no validity. Imagine a "rule" written in the 1860s that some people actually believe has merit. You don't write rules for grammar. That is fallacious thinking. You describe the rules of grammar according to how they're used. Neither the "between you and (pronoun)"rule nor the 'be verb + pronoun' rule have been accurately described by traditional/prescriptive grammar.



    In fact, the rule outlawing between you and I did not get written until the 1860s. It has since become part of standard schoolroom grammar. Writing between you and I is now widely regarded as a sign of ignorance, even though the phrase occurs quite often in speech. So don’t feel bad if you catch yourself saying it. Just remember: if you want to avoid trouble, stick to between you and me in formal speech and writing.

    52. pronouns, personal. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996

  7. #17
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: I or me

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    Well, back to I and me. I am not a prescriptive grammarian, but I do teach people how to pass English tests written by prescriptive grammarians. The fact that nearly all native English speakers use objective personal pronouns after to be, split infinitives, and end sentences with prepositions does not preclude these so-called rules from appearing regularly in standardized tests. I regularly tell my students that such-and-such is correct in every context of written and spoken English except a standardized test.
    I don't know if other languages have "rules" that native speakers rarely (or never) follow, but English does.
    If you teach at the high school/JHS level, M, I can somewhat understand your predicament. If you teach at a level that is higher than that, college or university, then I really have to ask why you do not challenge this nonsense?

    All these are are repetitions of badly thought out prescriptions.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: I or me

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Casi, this 'me/them/us' has nothing to do with the original poster's question. That question related to a coordinated noun/pronoun set.
    Oh, that's a new idea to the thread. Nice addition, that. First, here's the poster's question:
    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat
    There are three people in my family. They are my parents and I / me.

    Which pronoun is the correct one?
    Second, how does the coordinated structure come into play here? Are you proposing that possessive adjectives (e.g., my) assign accusative case and the reason speakers opt for objective me? If so, we've now three different structures and three different ways of looking at the distribution of pronominal I and me,

    (1) Formal: subject + BE + predicate nominal
    (2) Colloquial: subject + BE + accusative
    (3) _______: possessive adjective + noun + noun ([PossP[acc]+[me]])

    Mykwyner's account deals with structures (1) and (2), and the reason 'me/them/us' relates to the original poster's question. Your account deals with (3). Or have I misunderstood your intention?

  9. #19
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    Default Re: I or me

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    If you teach at the high school/JHS level, M, I can somewhat understand your predicament. If you teach at a level that is higher than that, college or university, then I really have to ask why you do not challenge this nonsense?

    All these are are repetitions of badly thought out prescriptions.
    If I may. What we say here really has no weight (n)or bearing on what a given poster's teacher or boss thinks. The best we can do is offer what's known, both sides, and explain the facts so the posters can decide which options to use.

    Note that, if you would like to further the present topic, you should consider starting a new thread in the Member's Discussion forum.

    All the best.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 17-Feb-2007 at 10:42.

  10. #20
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: I or me

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    If I may. What we say here really has no weight (n)or bearing on what a given poster's teacher or boss thinks. The best we can do is offer what's known, both sides, and explain the facts so the posters can decide which options to use.
    You may and you should, Casi. What is said here may well cause a given poster's boss or teacher to reflect upon what they do think and then say. There's no reason to withhold the truth just because some hold misguided ideas. The facts are indisputably clear. Most prescriptions are simply old wives tales and they have no place in teaching English to anyone.

    Again, how does a "rule" formulated in the 1860s [between you and I] hold such sway over thinking people. It does because they refuse to think. Prescriptions are held in place largely through fear, with prescriptivists resorting to using terror against students to cement seriously deficient rules in place.

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    I regularly tell my students that such-and-such is correct in every context of written and spoken English except a standardized test.
    Doesn't this say it all, M, Casi? The standardized test people don't do any better at explaining these prescriptions than any other prescriptivist. The proof remains always at a dismal "because grammar says so" level.

    They must be held to the same high standard in their thinking that they erroneously believe they're maintaining in their standardized tests..

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