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Operation bad grammar: all about “me”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 @ 01:07 PM
posted by Barbsawyers

Sometimes people make grammar mistakes when they write in a misguided attempt to sound  proper. Maybe they are still afraid of their third grade teacher.

writing "I" or "myself" instead of "me" makes you look snootyLet me set the record straight. When Mrs. Clarke told you not to say “me,” she was referring to sentences like “Jimmy and I are playing,” that had “I” in the subject.

She didn’t mean that “me”  is always wrong.  Sentences like “The dog is playing with me and Jimmy,” are fine.

Mrs. Clarke certainly did not want you to take this a step further by saying “myself” instead of “me.”  She would whip out the red pen if she saw you write “The dog is playing with Jimmy and myself.”

Let me stress that the only time it’s okay to use the word “myself” is when you did something yourself. That’s it.

Yet, I see people use “I” or “myself” all the time, when they should say “me.”

It’s not just that they are incorrect. Sadly, they sound like they are putting on airs. That does not  help us understand each other.

You will not impress Mrs. Clarke by this linguistic equivalent of raising your pinky finger while sipping from a tea cup. You will risk alienating people who care about grammar or crave the intimacy of “me.”

So, let’s pretend that I’m Mrs. Clarke, a nicer version so you won’t be afraid, and that you’re not distracted by Jimmy or thoughts of playing with the dog.

Pay attention, please. I’m going to review  two very simple rules.

Use “I” “in the subject of your sentence.

Use “myself” when you do something yourself.

That’s all you have to remember.

Your homework is life.

Class dismissed.

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