I didn’t, that’s for sure.
On my list of things that make my blood pressure peak, my nostrils flare and my index finger want to start wagging, improper use of pronouns is number one. Without a doubt.
Nothing irks me more than people who say “Me and Doofus watched the ball game today,” or “Me and her watched the game.” Or any of the other improper uses of a pronoun as the subject of a sentence, when it is meant to be used ONLY as an object.
Perhaps the problem originated with our relaxed conversational use of pronouns when answering questions such as “who’s there?” You’ll most likely hear the response “it’s me.” The grammatically correct response would be “it is I.”
The rule is that linking verbs such as “to be” are followed by the subjective pronoun (I, she, he, we). However, the response “it is I” sounds excessively formal for many situations, and recently the use of the objective pronoun has become more acceptable.
I say “it’s me” all the time. Except when I’m talking to the Queen. I’m telling you this so that you will see that I can be flexible. I’m not a grammar tyrant. Really, I am not.
Whether or not “it’s me” is an acceptable response to certain questions, the use of “me and her,” or “me and Doofus,” or similar combinations, as the subject of a sentence is absolutely not acceptable. Full stop.
As in, stop doing it. Right now.
Here’s the rule:
The pronouns “me,” “him,” “her,” “them,” and “us,” are objective pronouns. They are used only as objects of a preposition or verb. They are the target of the action. “John threw the ball to me,” “John hit me,” or “John and Tim came to visit us.”
Only subjective pronouns (I, he, she, they, we) can be the subject of a sentence, that is, in charge of the action.
It is not “Me and Doofus watched the game,” or “Me and her watched the game.” Rather, it is: “Doofus and I watched the game,” or “She and I watched the game.”
Here’s how to analyze when to use which pronoun:
Drop the “and Doofus” and try the sentence with just “me.” Would you say “Me watched the game?” No, never. If you would never say “Me watched the game,” then you will never say “Me and Doofus watched the game.”
The same test can be used for two pronouns, such as “me and her” – try the sentence without “me and.” Would you say “Her watched the game?” No, never.
When using “I” in combination with other pronouns or proper nouns, the correct placement is to put “I” after the other pronoun or proper nouns: She and I; Dave, John and I; and so on (rather than “I and Doofus,” or “I and she”).
Me and Doofus. That’s what riles me today. Do your bit to help me manage my blood pressure. Stop putting “me and Doofus” in charge of sentences.
Until next time. Don’t write good. Write well.
Beryl Cuda might, just might, be my grumpy alter ego – the one I use to rant about things that rile me.
Many things in life rile me. Like dirty laundry blocking the path to the wine cellar. Bad wine. Weak coffee. Rain for five days straight. Lost luggage. You get the idea. But there’s much about the way people today treat the English language that riles me more.