Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Me, Myself, and I

Ok, before I go on a rant, I acknowledge that English is a living language that is constantly evolving.

Now, with that said, I'm constantly irritated by the way Americans, including myself, consistently misuse the words me, myself, and I. "I" is to be used as the subject, while "me" is to be used as the object in a sentence.

So does this sound right to you? - They asked Jane and I to go to the ballgame.

 Using "I' just "sounds" more correct to most people these days, based on the way public speakers, radio and TV personalities, and the general public use it. BUT it should be Jane and ME in this sentence, because you wouldn't say, "They asked I to go to the ballgame." It's the object of the verb in that sentence.

In an effort to avoid making the decision about whether to use me or I people are starting to say myself, instead. So you hear people say, "They asked Jane and myself to go to the ballgame," but you wouldn't say, "They asked myself to go to the ballgame."

Is it any wonder that we're losing the ability to use these little words properly when we hear them used incorrectly constantly?

I don't make the mistake in writing, but I do catch myself using it incorrectly in casual speech. And it's like fingernails on a chalkboard when I realize I've done it.


Jan said...

The one that drives me crazy is "between you and I." I hear this one from people who are mostly careful of their speech.

Anji said...

I think the idea of trying out the sentence without Jane (in this case) is good advice for anyone who has a doubt.

Unfortunately, people hear the examples set by those in the media and absorb the information.

How about 'less' and 'few'?

Dirty Butter said...

Me, too, Jan. Hubby caught me using "and I" wrong on the phone, and it just makes me mad when I do that.

Dirty Butter said...

Maybe that trick with Jane would come in handy when talking with some of your students, Anji. That's the way I always taught it at school.

joetaxpayer said...

I learned the proper use of myself when taking French in high school. There were reflexive verbs such as "wash" which created a sentence Je me leve, as in "I wash myself." Myself is never a subject and only the object when you are the one doing the action.

Yes, many of us are irked by all this.

Anji - if it can be counted, fewer, if not, less. Next time you have a buffet, serve fewer baked potatoes and less potato salad.

Dirty Butter said...

Good tips, Joe. Anji tutors French speaking people in English, so I'm sure she'll like your less/fewer explanation.

Anji said...

I like potato salad too!