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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6 Comments

Filed under bad grammar, Grammar

6 responses to “Grammar Wednesday

  1. That’s how I test it, too; I know about objective and subjective, but when in doubt, taking the other people/things out of the list and reading the sentence with just the troublesome pronoun is a sure way to tell.

  2. mccgood

    That is how me I mean I learned it as well !

    Actually I have developed a bad habit of talking to my husband in a way that a pre kindergarten student or Kindergarten student would talk.(runned, “why come) . I am sorry it just cracks me up. I am afraid however that it will come out while talking to a parent, or worse if I ever went on an interview!
    I do however repeat what the students say in the correct form so they can hear the correct words being said.

  3. magicalmysticalteacher

    A simple but effective trick!

  4. Michael

    I was in a meeting last year with this guy that I can’t stand. He’s kind of a dickhead. Anyway, he was speaking to the group and said, “Please send copies to Andrea and me.” He stopped and made a big deal of repeating himself, saying, “I’m sorry. To Andrea and I.

    I couldn’t resist. My head shot up and I said: No.

    He looked very confused, so I explained. I said: “Send copies to Andrea. Send copies to me. Send copies to Andrea and me. Objective case.”

    Moron.

  5. twoblueday

    “Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
    Sold I to the merchant ships,
    Minutes after they took I
    From the bottomless pit.”

    Freedom Song, Bob Marley

    Them pronouns, they tricky-like.

  6. twoblueday

    As for putting oneself first in the order of mention, instead of last, is that a grammatical rule, or more on the order of a custom, a courtesy, which might be fading out in our “I, me, my” modern world?

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