It is true, English is a difficult language. I should know. I’ve been studying it for a very long time – formally and casually. I doubt I will ever master it.
Several years ago, Carol and I took a New Testament Greek class. Our professor and friend, Ben Lawton, was a Greek geek. No he was a linguistic geek. His background included teaching New Testament Greek in Italian for over 15 years. One of the many things he emphatically stated was, “Words are slippery.” Meaning definitions of words are evolving and ever-changing. Grammar also changes.
Here is an interesting article about grammar evolution from The Lexiteria Corporation.
Reading Speed Bumps
The other day, my S.I.L sent me a message regarding some of my recent posts. She kindly let me know that she discovered a few errors that distracted her as she read them. I went back to take a look and, sure enough, there they were. Errors that were larger than life, reading speed bumps, in my posts.
I can certainly understand how writing errors can be a distraction. They also distract me as I read. The incorrect use of Me, Myself and I is one speed bump that always causes me to stumble.
Which sentences are correct?*
- Carol and myself are going to get me a new shirt.
- Carol and I are going to get me a new shirt.
- Please send the check to Carol and me.
- Please send the check to Carol and myself.
- They are giving Carol and I an award.
- They are giving Carol and me an award.
- I see myself in the mirror.
- I see me in the mirror.
Another grammatical speed bump that always trips me up is the misuse of that and who. As an example, our local media reporters often refer to individuals as ‘that’, not ‘who’. I may have not enjoyed my English classes in school but I did learn a few tricks. It is always people who and things that. This is a loose generalization but it is pretty accurate.
In my pre-retirement days, I kept a copy of The Little, Brown Handbook, 7th Ed. nearby. It served as a handy reference whenever I got confused with about the proper use of English grammar. Remember that Greek professor I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Ben Lawton? He is the person who introduced me to this remarkable little book. Thanks, Ben, for that recommendation.
I now use a cool on-line resource – The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. I hope that will be helpful to you also.
Now I am going to get me a cup of coffee by myself.
Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.
*The correct sentences are #’s 2, 3, 6, & 7.