Daily Archives: September 23, 2009

Grammar Wednesday

My students seem to have trouble with naming the self last.  They would much prefer to say “my father brought me and my brother to the movies a lot when we were little,” or “Me and Sarah have been best friends since the second grade” than to work the more proper structure of “my brother and me,” or “Sarah and I.”  I spend a fair bit of  “final polishing” workshop time with their drafts pointing out that students should name the self last.

They also have a fair struggle with WHICH pronoun to use WHEN.  I’ve covered this before, but let’s do a quick refresher, shall we?

OBJECTIVE pronouns stand as the OBJECT in a sentence.  These are words like me, you, us, them, her, and him.

Give it to me.

The insult was directed at her personally, not at us as a group.

SUBJECTIVE pronouns – I, you, he, she, they, we, and the like – function as the SUBJECT of sentences:

I was disappointed by the lack of effort you showed in today’s class conversation.

He thought that she was beautiful.

These words are not interchangable.  It is incorrect to say “Dad brought my brother and I to the movies,” or “He thought her was beautiful” (though, to be fair, it’s “me” and “I” that my native English speakers have the most trouble discerning).  The way I teach this to my kids is to ask them to take everyone but the pronoun out of the sentence and read it again.  “Dad brought I to the movies” is clearly incorrect, and once they learn that trick, they almost never have further issues with which word to use.

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