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Thread: Not me...Not I

  1. vera

    Not me...Not I

    why sometimes we use Not I...and in the same context we cn see Not me.
    ex. No I, said the red hen.
    Not me, said the red hen.
    are both correct? is it an idiom or oldfashioned language?
    thanks for the help

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: Not me...Not I

    It depends who you ask.

    A traditionalist would say that since the phrase is an answer to the question "Who will help me...?" (if this is the story I think it is), the personal pronoun in the answer must be a subject and must therefore be in the subjective form: "Not I."

    A more modern view is that when there is no verb actually present, English uses the objective pronoun (analogous to the way that, for example, French would use moi instead of je in the same situation): "Not me."

    So a traditionalist would say that "Not me" is incorrect, while modern thinkers would tell you that "Not I" sounds affected and pretentious.

    As it is, "Not I" is now almost never heard in speech and rarely seen written. It is now considered to be old-fashioned.


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