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Where has poor little me gone?

... spooked by commas colons and faceless voices

by Jackie Wattenberg

I have nightmares in which I am pursued by commas and semi-colons and am finally vanquished by ''I, I, I'' in the objective case -- faceless voices shouting ''Between you and I, '' ''They told Jim and I --'' and ''Give it to Mary and I, I, I!''

I wake up in a sweat yelling ''Me, me, me, ME!''

There are lots of variations in American speech, as in most countries. There's nothing wrong with ''y'all,'' and even ''ain't'' has its place and time. ''How ya doin'?'' has a regional ring to it that is easy and friendly. I can even accept ''it don't'' from people who never had the advantage of education.

But it's the educated, elitist people who have fallen in love with ''I.'' They think it sounds classier to say ''Between you and I'' than ''Between you and me,'' which is so common, menial and correct. High school English teachers and talk show hosts can be heard saying ''They gave Tom and I a going-away party...'' or ''They were telling Jessica and I about...''

But these same persons would never have the courage to say ''They gave I a going-away party'' or ''They were telling I about...''

I'm not a purist. I don't care if they drop ''whom'' and make an all-purpose ''who.'' After all, ''what'' remains ''what'' whether subject or object. We don't say ''Wham do you mean by that remark?''

I can overlook commas and semi-colons. Almost everybody else does.

But between you and I, the pervasive preference for ''I'' will drive William Safire, Joseph Kirkpatrick and I all to the madhouse.

Please have pity on poor little me.



)original publish date unknown..


July 1, 2016


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