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Thread: "I" or "me"?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #51

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    The way I teach it to my students is to split the sentence into two similar sentences, and see what works, and then combine them again:

    ....concerning my wife....
    ....concerning me.....

    =
    ...... concerning my wife and me.
    That's what I do.

    However, Huddleston and Palmer ask (p 9) "But why should we simply assume that the grammatical rules for case-assignment cannot differentiate between a coordinated and a non-coordinated pronoun. They then give an example of a case where 'the rules are sensitive to this distinction'. A very brief discussion leads them to conclude, "The argument from analogy is illegitimate".

    I am certainly not persuaded by all that they write, but I find this section of the book interesting, because they raise a point that I had not met before.

    Unfortunately, I have no statistics, but I would guess that most people who stayed on at school after the age of fifteen half a century ago would not now dream of saying 'between you and I' or 'concerning my wife and I'. I would also guess that at least half the people who leave formal education before the age of 19 today would see nothing wrong with those words. As I said, I have no statistics, but H & P claim (p 463) "these nominatives are found quite generally in coordinations functioning in positions where single accusative pronouns are used".

    It is possible, konungursvia, that what you and I (and many other teachers) are teaching at the moment will change. We may, perhaps within twenty five-years, be saying, "concerning my wife, concerning me, but concerning my wife and I"

    I am rather relieved that me and the missus won't be around then, though, if we was, we'd learn to accept it.

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    #52

    Smile Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If A and C are nouns, there has not been a clear way for centuries of avoiding the ambiguity in such sentences in English. We have always had to re-write if we wish to be clear:

    Peter loves Mary more than he loves Jane.
    Peter love Mary more than Jane loves Mary.
    I agree. I was referring to the situation when pronouns are used, where cases do help.

    Regarding my earlier "deploring the degradation of grammar", I want to make one point clear if I didn't before: I voiced that opinion in the same sentiment as some here say they "cringe" at "between you and I". I strive to write and speak clearer English personally and professionally by following undisputed grammatical rules especially where they enhance clarity, avoiding controversial constructions like "between you and I" even though acknowledging that they are considered perfectly acceptable by some native speakers and described as such in CamGEL. Generally, I enjoy and agree with the descriptive analysis of that grammar and am glad it got published. Knowing what is going on with the language gives me the power of knowledge, yet this doesn't mean I should go with the bleeding edge in my actual use. I consciously choose to be conservative in that regard.

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    #53

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    It is possible, konungursvia, that what you and I (and many other teachers) are teaching at the moment will change. We may, perhaps within twenty five-years, be saying, "concerning my wife, concerning me, but concerning my wife and I"
    I don't think we will, although it may be because I have too little knowledge. My feeling has always been that this usage is limited, with no or few exceptions, to people without higher education speaking in situations that require a more formal language. Is there a significant number of people for whom this usage is natural?

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    #54

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    That's what I do.

    However, Huddleston and Palmer ask (p 9) "But why should we simply assume that the grammatical rules for case-assignment cannot differentiate between a coordinated and a non-coordinated pronoun. They then give an example of a case where 'the rules are sensitive to this distinction'. A very brief discussion leads them to conclude, "The argument from analogy is illegitimate".

    I am certainly not persuaded by all that they write, but I find this section of the book interesting, because they raise a point that I had not met before.

    Unfortunately, I have no statistics, but I would guess that most people who stayed on at school after the age of fifteen half a century ago would not now dream of saying 'between you and I' or 'concerning my wife and I'. I would also guess that at least half the people who leave formal education before the age of 19 today would see nothing wrong with those words. As I said, I have no statistics, but H & P claim (p 463) "these nominatives are found quite generally in coordinations functioning in positions where single accusative pronouns are used".

    It is possible, konungursvia, that what you and I (and many other teachers) are teaching at the moment will change. We may, perhaps within twenty five-years, be saying, "concerning my wife, concerning me, but concerning my wife and I"

    I am rather relieved that me and the missus won't be around then, though, if we was, we'd learn to accept it.
    Thanks for this illuminating thought. Nevertheless, some aspects of grammar are linked so closely to logic and pragmatics that I would ignore even the experts if they departed from them too hastily.

    This is one of those cases. Unless Bob Marley is playing, I can't fathom "Old pirates yes they rob I; sold I to the merchant ships," whether coordinated or not. I is a subject pronoun, and when the speaker refers to himself or herself as the victim of the grammatical and pragmatical subject's action(s), I take the speaker's person to be an object, every time.

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    #55

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    My feeling has always been that this usage is limited, with no or few exceptions, to people without higher education speaking in situations that require a more formal language. Is there a significant number of people for whom this usage is natural?
    I have heard it from some of my son's friends; they have all graduated from reputable British universities within the last twelve or so years.

    Fewer use 'between you and I' than use 'less people', but use it they do.

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    #56

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I don't think we will, although it may be because I have too little knowledge. My feeling has always been that this usage is limited, with no or few exceptions, to people without higher education speaking in situations that require a more formal language. Is there a significant number of people for whom this usage is natural?
    I'm afraid so. JK Rowling is in the second of 5jj's classes - the ones who, broadly, didnt learn 'the Three Rs' [Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic. I think your scepticism about 5jj's prediction may be related to the fact that your language has an active system of nominative/accusative inflections, so that when you met 'I' and 'me' you made the analogy (with which many people would agree) with that sytem.

    But, as 5jj said, me and 'er indoors won't be around to see the dam break! (I think it will though, for what it's worth).

    b

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    #57

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I'm afraid so. JK Rowling is in the second of 5jj's classes - the ones who, broadly, didnt learn 'the Three Rs' [Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic. I think your scepticism about 5jj's prediction may be related to the fact that your language has an active system of nominative/accusative inflections, so that when you met 'I' and 'me' you made the analogy (with which many people would agree) with that sytem.
    This may be an influence indeed. I also have trouble understanding why anybody would use "who" instead of "whom". But I just don't remember hearing this construction other than by people trying to sound formal or making a joke.

    (My language actually has an active system of nominative/genitive/dative/accusative/locative/instrumental cases and the very much alive but less often used vocative case. Polish for "between you and me" employs instrumentals.)

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    #58

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    This may be an influence indeed.
    I have noted throughout my career that people in whose languages nouns inflect for case are sometimes 'better' at this aspect of English than some native speakers. Except that it is not 'better' in many situations. In informal situations, these case-conscious learners are using forms that sound stiff to many native speakers.

    I also have trouble understanding why anybody would use "who" instead of "whom".
    Because case has not been important in English for many years. Apart from the possessive form, nouns in English do not show case. The only examples of case in English are in the personal pronouns (and here, as we have seen, some native speakers produce 'incorrect' forms in some contexts), and the relative pronoun 'who'. In defining relative clauses we often omit the object form 'who(m)'. Non-defining relative clauses are actually not very common in speech or informal writing. It is no surprise to me that people don't use 'whom' - we get no practice.
    You are happy using 'whom' because you are used to using its equivalent in your own language.

    It's a little like the vocative.My three-year-old Czech honorary grandson uses vocative forms in his own language with no problem. For Britsh people learning Czech, the vocative is very strange. They simply cannot understand why people address me as 'Jede' when my name is 'Jed'.
    5
    Last edited by 5jj; 06-Dec-2011 at 19:41. Reason: typo

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    #59

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    You are happy using 'whom' because you are used to using its equivalent in your own language.
    Its equivalents.

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    #60

    Re: "I" or "me"?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    ...
    (My language actually has an active system of nominative/genitive/dative/accusative/locative/instrumental cases and the very much alive but less often used vocative case. Polish for "between you and me" employs instrumentals.)
    I suspected as much. But I thought just nom. and acc. were sufficient for the analogy. (I imagine most native speakers of English would have little idea of what genitive, dative, instrumental and locative are - I remember having trouble understanding what a locative was when first introduced to the idea in Latin class; though English does flirt with it in spellings like 'Marseilles' and 'Lyons - where the French don't have an s [but what do they know about it? ])

    b

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