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    #1

    I know this is right, but why?

    I'm correcting student work, and one of my best students has written

    Iíve been wondering as of late, why is it just me that donít have a boyfriend?

    I've corrected the don't to doesn't, which I know to be correct, but I've realised that I can't explain why it should be doesn't. I've been teaching the class that if the subject of the sentence can be replaced with a 3rd person pronoun, then the verb needs a 3rd person -s (in the present tense). But if the subject of the sentence is me (?), then this doesn't work. Hmm, really ought to know this stuff

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I know this is right, but why?

    Quote Originally Posted by currywuss View Post
    I'm correcting student work, and one of my best students has written

    Iíve been wondering as of late, why is it just me that donít have a boyfriend?

    I've corrected the don't to doesn't, which I know to be correct, but I've realised that I can't explain why it should be doesn't. I've been teaching the class that if the subject of the sentence can be replaced with a 3rd person pronoun, then the verb needs a 3rd person -s (in the present tense). But if the subject of the sentence is me (?), then this doesn't work. Hmm, really ought to know this stuff
    With "me" in the above sentence you are referring to yourself in the third person, ie. the person you are talking about.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: I know this is right, but why?

    Why is it just me that doesn't have a boyfriend? This is not correct. It should read:

    Why am I the only one who doesn't have a boyfriend? (Who is 3rd person)
    or
    Why is it just I who do not /don't have a boyfriend?

    What you've got is fairly common in speech, but it's a common mistake, in my view.

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    #4

    Re: I know this is right, but why?

    Why is it just me that doesn't have a boyfriend? This is not correct. It should read:

    Why am I the only one who doesn't have a boyfriend? (Who is 3rd person)
    or
    Why is it just I who do not /don't have a boyfriend?

    What you've got is fairly common in speech, but it's a common mistake, in my view.
    In fairness, the students were asked to write a diary, with emphasis on writing informally. I'd also say that the sentence in question is perfectly acceptable in my (native speaker) idiolect.

    As this sort of sentence is fairly common in speech, as you say, wouldn't another way to look at it be to say that this has become acceptable/correct, rather than saying it is a mistake. If native speakers accept something as grammatically correct, doesn't that suggest that an area of the language has developed/evolved?

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I know this is right, but why?

    Oh, okay, for a diary, an internal monologue, anything goes. But then why are you "correcting" them in terms of grammar? I'd just give feedback on feelings/ experiences, etc. for a journal intime.

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