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Thread: "I" or "me"?

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    #11

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    We have the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language to thank for this particular piece of idiocy (among others), which endeavours to argue for the 'correctness' of between you and I and the like on the basis of a ludicrous analogy with abbreviations...
    In their discussion of this on page 463, Huddleston and Pullum make no mention of abbreviations that I can find. They don’t appear to me to be arguing for the ‘correctness’ of ‘between you and I’, though they do say that a construction with I as final coordinate is “so common in speech and used by so broad a range of speakers that it has to be recognised as a variety of Standard English’
    Huddleston, Rodney & Pullum, Geoffrey K (2002) The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Cambridge: CUP

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    #12

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    In their discussion of this on page 463, Huddleston and Pullum make no mention of abbreviations that I can find.
    Take a look at p.9.

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    #13

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Take a look at p.9.
    I have just looked at page 9 - three times. I can't see any mention of abbreviations there. Perhaps you'd care to quote the words you are talking about (with page reference).

    Just to be sure that we are not referring to different books, my copy is the 2002 edition,

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    #14

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I have just looked at page 9 - three times. I can't see any mention of abbreviations there. Perhaps you'd care to quote the words you are talking about (with page reference).

    Just to be sure that we are not referring to different books, my copy is the 2002 edition,
    Same edition, p9 - right at the bottom, example sentence [4].

    P.S. a slight erratum on my part: for 'abbreviations' read 'contractions'.
    Last edited by philo2009; 28-Nov-2011 at 09:57.

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    #15

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    We have the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language to thank for this particular piece of idiocy (among others), which endeavours to argue for the 'correctness' of between you and I and the like on the basis of a ludicrous analogy with abbreviations...
    a slight erratum on my part: for 'abbreviations' read 'contractions'.
    It seems to me that H&P's section on 'Spurious external justification'(pps 8-11) is an attempt to show the lack of legitimacy of prescriptive grammarians who 'backed up their pronouncements with appeals to entirely extraneous considerations'. Their argument about contractions, which they do not relate to 'between you and I' is interesting. Dismissal of it as 'ludicrous' is hardly a counter-argument.

    It would be ludicrous to attempt to justify the correctness of 'between you and I' on the grounds of an analogy with contractions, but H& P make no such attempt

    Huddleston, Rodney & Pullum, Geoffrey K (2002, 8-11, 463) The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Cambridge: CUP

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    #16

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Their argument about contractions, which they do not relate to 'between you and I' is interesting.

    Yes, if by 'interesting' you mean 'piffle'...

    It would be ludicrous to attempt to justify the correctness of 'between you and I' on the grounds of an analogy with contractions,

    I'm relieved to hear that we can at least agree on that much...


    but H& P make no such attempt


    Oh, they don't, do they not?

    Well, pausing just momentarily to wonder exactly what constitutes 'making an attempt' in your view, I would respond thus: on p10, lines 1-5 "The sequence ...[3a] and [3b]" effectively assert that there is a precedent for reckoning that rules of morphology regarding a given pronoun as a single form can differ from those regarding the same pronoun occurring in a compound, and that that precedent is the so-called rule of grammar cited at the bottom of p9.concerning contractions.

    In short, they stop just one hair's breadth short of saying "[3b] is grammatically perfectly OK in our view, and you pedantic old fusspots who've been objecting to it for years had better jolly well knuckle under and accept it!"

    Yes, I think that definitely rates in most people's book as an 'attempt'...

    And now for some reasons why I find their argument ludicrous:

    1) If you're going to support a case for suggesting/implying/hinting at (call it what you will) the grammatical acceptability of one construction by analogy with another, you had better ensure that your analogy actually concerns grammar. The use/non-use of contractions is an issue of either pronunciation or orthography, depending on whether we are dealing with the spoken or written form.

    Whether one elects to carefully enunciate the 'you are' of their [4b] as two distinct words or to lazily conflate them into something sounding like (and consequently recorded in written form as) one makes absolutely no difference from the point of view of grammar: 'you' and 'are' remain, irrespective of such incidentals of execution, two grammatically distinct words, namely one pronoun and one verb respectively.**

    2) If you're going to support a case for suggesting/implying/hinting at the grammatical acceptability of one construction by analogy with another, you had also better ensure that you compare like with like. In suggesting a parallelism between

    [3a] They invited me to lunch.

    and

    [4a] I don't know if you're eligible

    they are implying equality of status between [3a], a formally flawless sentence (definable, for the purposes of this analysis, as one acceptable to all users of the language at up to and including the highest level of formality) and a flawed one, [4a], since the use of contractions will not be considered acceptable by all users in all conceivable circumstances (e.g. in legal documents).

    Thus their implicit assertion that the sequence [4a] to [4b] - in reality that of slightly flawed to even more flawed sentence - can be held up as in any way mirroring that realized by [3a] to [3b] (flawless to flawed) is simply untenable.

    3) (And I've saved the most ludicrous bit till last) If you're going to support a case for suggesting/implying/hinting at the grammatical acceptability of one construction by analogy with another, you had better not shoot yourself in the foot by rejecting analogy in principle as a valid basis of grammatical argumentation (see p9, paragraph beginning "Prescriptivists, however,...").

    So, overall, I would say that the word 'ludicrous' sums up their position rather nicely!!

    **I would also be grateful if Messrs. Pullum et al. would explain at precisely what point between a perfectly enunciated "you are" and a completely contracted "you're" - since a little experimentation shows there to be any number of phonologically indistinct midway stages between the two - sentence [3b] goes from being correct to incorrect.
    Last edited by philo2009; 01-Dec-2011 at 02:32.

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    #17

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    If you are basing some of your argument on such ideas as 'I don't know if you're eligible' being formally flawed, I see no point in continuing the discussion.

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    #18

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    I can't seem to find a definition or mention of the notion of "formal flaw" in this grammar.

    And, doesn't this grammar avoid passing judgement on "correctness" of a construction altogether, and instead assign labels such as standard (formal vs. informal), standard (at least to some speakers), and nonstandard?

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    #19

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by l10nel View Post
    I can't seem to find a definition or mention of the notion of "formal flaw" in this grammar.

    And, doesn't this grammar avoid passing judgement on "correctness" of a construction altogether, and instead assign labels such as standard (formal vs. informal), standard (at least to some speakers), and nonstandard?
    I agree that descriptive grammarians avoid passing judgement on the 'correctness' of a construction. Most writers use the words formal(ly) in two ways:

    1. with reference to the form or structure. Thus, "I have been being cooked for two hundred years" is formally correct. There are no grammatical errors in the way the words are put together. The fact that the words are pretty meaningless is irrelevant to a discussion about the syntax. In this sense, there is no 'formal flaw' in "I don't know if you're eligible".

    2, with reference to the formality or style. Thus "I wish to offer my sincere apologies" is more formal than "Sorry, mate". In this sense, one can say that "I don't know if you're eligible" is less formal/more informal than "I do not know if you are eligible".

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    #20

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Thanks! I understand that "formally flawed" here refers to "formality" level. But my question was, does this grammar define/mention a sentence as being formally flawed because it isn't acceptable in the formal style (e.g. legal)? I couldn't find this notion in the conceptual index. I'd be surprised if this descriptive grammar describes an informal construction as "flawed".

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