I Don’t Wish To Be A Grammar Nazi, But…

I am driven crazy by people who say “I’ when “me” is the correct word and vice versa.

Allow me to vent. I have been a public speaker for a long time. Maybe that’s made me oversensitive? I am driven crazy by people who say “I’ when “me” is the correct word and vice versa.

It’s not necessary to read the next paragraph. It explains the rules, but you can do this without really knowing the rules!

From wiki.answers.com: “I” is normally the subject pronoun and “me” is the object pronoun. (Nominative and indicative, if you really want to know.) That is, “I” is used when you are doing the action in the sentence, and “me” when you are receiving it.

This problem always appears in sentences with more than one noun and/or pronoun:

  • They want you or me.
  • Helaine and I need a vacation.

The easiest method to see which version is correct is to temporarily throw away the second noun/pronoun!

  • They want me.
  • They want I.
  • I need a vacation.
  • Me need a vacation.
  • It works every time and you’ll allow me to live a longer, happier, more stress free life.

    Don’t get me started on “orientated!”

49 thoughts on “I Don’t Wish To Be A Grammar Nazi, But…”

  1. Considering the English language is forever changing, I still have to say I’m with you, Geoff. That being said, I hate to be picky, but, Donna, the correct thing to say is “I’ll try TO remember”. Look at it this way…

    You will try what? You will try to remember. The way you said it says you will try something AND you will remember something. That’s two things you intend to do when you really mean you will be doing one thing…remembering.

    It’s always “try to”…never “try and”. I know it’s used all the time, but it is incorrect. No one seems to want to bother correcting it and it has become so commonplace that no one cares anymore.

  2. I had a teacher who would throw your entire paper out if you put in the word “alot” That one irks me and it’s everywhere (and don’t get me started with its, it’s or its’). The rule for a lot is: you don’t say “alittle” so “alot” is a no no.

  3. The incorrect use of “I” instead of “me” is a unique kind of grammatical error — it is made only by people who are afraid of making a grammatical error.

    In normal speech, we often substitute “me” for the grammatically correct, but funny sounding “I”.

    Only people who are afraid of making this common grammatical error make the error of using “I” when “me” is grammatically correct.

  4. Michael, that’s exactly what I do! My dad is always getting after me to use the correct ‘me’, when I am thinking I’m avoiding the ‘me’ mistake!

  5. Oh I hate “orientated” but “drownding” is worse! Either they drowned or they are drowning. No one is drownding… Even my phone keeps trying to fix it!!

    Want to discuss “irregardless” next?

  6. The common grammatical blunders that drive me nuts are:
    a) rampant abuse of apostrophe’s (sic…see that? no need for an apostrophe in pluralization, folks. There used for possessives!)
    b) Oh, no! Did you see that? ^ Wrong use of “there, they’re, their”. “Their” is possessive; “they’re” is a contraction of “they are”, and “there” an adverb indicating placement or existence: They’re going to their house over there.
    c) Speaking of there, it is NEVER the subject of a sentence. It’s not a noun. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at this:
    There’s keys in my pocket.
    There ARE keys in my pocket! “Keys” is the subject/noun here, and, being plural, requires the plural form of the verb “to be”, thus, “are”. We don’t say,”Keys is in my pocket”. We say,”Keys ARE in my pocket”. Using “there” doesn’t change the need for the subject and verb to agree.
    d) And, finally, “to” and “too” (people seem to understand “two”, at least) are all TOO often confused. “Too” indicates “also” or is used to indicate degree “too many”, “too loud”, whereas, “to” is a preposition. With that, I’m going to get off the computer and go TO bed.

    1. …it is possible to get “on” a computer, if your aim is to injure yourself or do harm to the object (computer)…I’m not sure if a computer could be sturdy enough to avoid harm if a person should get “on” one…

  7. I agree! I won’t get you started on “orientated” because that is near the top of my list too. To add to the growing list here, I get annoyed with the overuse of the reflexive. For example, instead of “How about you?” you hear “How about yourself?”. Arrrrgh.

  8. OK…my pet peeve is using of instead of have…I should have read the rules…not I should of read the rules…this drives me absolutely crazy!!!

  9. I cringe everytime I read, “He graduated high school in 2005.” What does that mean?

    Slightly less offensive: “He graduated from high school in 2005.”

    The real deal, which apparently is considered old-fashioned: “He was graduated from Hillhouse High School in 2005.”

    As in “she was promoted from first grade.” The school makes the decision on whether you are graduated or promoted. You don’t.

  10. Simple solution to everything here. Use I when you care and me when you don’t. As for There, their, they’re; if you can replace the word ‘There’ with ‘Here’ and the sentence still makes sense; or ‘Their’ with ‘our’ and ‘They’re with ‘Those’. It’s not fool proof but it works for 90% of cases. Grammar and spelling is something that is constantly evolving so what is true today may not be true in a hundred years time. If your in any doubt compare works by Chaucer to Shakespeare; to the language you read in any newspaper today.
    Just so your aware the Oxford English book of Grammar weighs 4lbs and covers 700 pages and this is just the compressed version so chances are we’re all getting it wrong at some point.
    I was lucky enough to study English Literature at A-Level in the UK and they always told us to read everything we wrote out loud. If it sounds like the Queen is reading it; it’s probably wrong.

    On a completely different note, and tongue in cheek. How can you complain about the use of English when you remove all the letter U’s from words such as colour, favourite and neighbour.

    1. Ahem … if “your” in any doubt? Shouldn’t it be, “if you’re in any doubt”, since you are or are not in doubt? It’s not my doubt. Also, “Just so “your” aware …”?
      Perhaps I’m wrong, since I didn’t study English Literature in the UK?

      Thanks – Neighbour! 😀

  11. I’m not ashamed to be called a grammar nazi! I read an article yesterday that used “its” four times in a row, all in the same context. Two times, he used its, and two times, it’s. People just don’t get it.
    Another pet peeve: which vs. that. As with you and I, people use “which” to sound more educated. Not!

  12. Bless your heart!! I agree with the I/me, their/they’re/there thing!!
    How about the pronunciation Nazi??
    I will do anything for you as long as you don’t ax me! 🙂

    1. Or, many people pronounce “our” and “are” the same, when “our” really should be pronounced like “hour”.
      By pronouncing this incorrectly, I’ve seen people write “are” when they meant “our”, simply because they’ve failed to distinguish the two words mentally.

  13. As far as the I/Me. True story – I sent and email at work and my boss “corrected” it saying it should always be I!! I actually had to correct HER. Maybe I will send her the rule lol

  14. I’m glad I’m not the only one bugged by these things! I thoroughly enjoyed this article, and am glad you shared it! Thanks!

  15. What bothers me even more than people mixing up when to use I and when to use me, is when people use myself as a subject pronoun. For example: “If you have a problem just ask John or myself.” Arghhh! Me is correct in that case since it also follows the rule of dropping the other person to see if me or I is correct. I have a lot of grammar pet peeves but, that one bugs me the most.

  16. Oh, my goodness! I love reading posts from all you “grammar Nazis”! As a former technical editor (I say “former,” but once it’s in your blood, it never goes away!), I have lately been so frustrated with the lack of grammatical integrity, particularly in journalism. I get most of my news online now (from well-known sources), and the writing is abysmal. I have thought of collecting the “grammos” whenever I see them and publishing them in a “journalistic errors” book (wouldn’t take long to accumulate, believe me!), however I didn’t think anyone (except other editors, who seem to be in short supply these days) cared anymore! You people give me renewed hope! (Oh, and don’t get me started on the spoken “relator” and “nucular”…like fingernails on a blackboard!) Anyway, you rock, Geoff! Keep up the good work!

  17. How about the over use of “had”? Irritates me, especially when I see it over used in the newspapers. Aren’t they professional writers?

  18. Add me to the list!! The I/me thing drives me nuts – I just finished reading a novel with that mistake and have been contemplating sending an email to the author. That one is so easy to get right, but it’s wrong more and more often. Aaaarrrggghhh! And there are errors more and more often in published news these days – in print and online – can’t count on anything anymore.

  19. It may be because I am one, but the incorrect use of EPISCOPAL and EPISCOPALIAN drives me nuts. Also, though maybe not technically grammar, the use of the title Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will send me up a tree. The position is not Chief Justice of the Supreme Court it is Chief Justice of the United States!

  20. I and a grammar Nazi, too. Or is it to, or two???? That’s one of my pet peeves. Apostrophes, too. I once saw a sign that stated “Rabbit’s for sale.” Rabbit’s what? Tail, foot, little twitching nose???? Grrrrrr!

  21. The I/Me thing is just the tip of the iceberg. I get driven crazy by so many grammar boo-boos. You’ve already outlined most of them, but the ones that drive me craziest are those found in major newspapers. Have editors gone the way of the dodo?

  22. Regarding my last comment….”and” in the first sentence is a typo, not my own version of a grammar error. Of course, it should be “am”

  23. Having been an English major in college grammar mistakes make me crazy. I could create a whole list of things that bug me. Incomplete sentences. Voila, I just made one! Lack of proper spelling and lack of decent handwriting. There’s another incomplete sentence. Now, I’m told handwriting is becoming a thing of the past! Maybe I am too; however, I go kicking and screaming!

  24. Geoff, I thoroughly enjoyed your posting. Maybe part of the problem is that the emphasis on spelling and grammar died from social network disease. Our generation was taught differently; I actually had to learn to use an abacus. Who the hell needs to use an abacus? I can do simple math, long division, and spell decently in my head. Our work ethic has changed in accordance with the technology developed to make our lives lazier… I mean easier. Along the way rudimentary things get lost. What me do?

  25. Personal pet peeve? When did Americans start going “to hospital” and having “surgeries” while “in hospital”? Or did I move to England when I wasn’t looking?

  26. The “I”/”me” use has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. As you describe, it is so easy to figure our which one is correct. I worked in schools for almost 20 years and it especially bothered me that teachers never corrected the misuse by students.

    1. When I was in junior high school (sort of like middle school of today), I had to chose a language. French was the easy one, so I took Latin. In high school I added Russian. Both have strict grammars, based on declension of nouns and conjugation (not that kind) of verbs. Made the development (to be kind) of English clearer, but also made it clearer why English is so difficult to learn as a second language. And vice versa for American speakers learning a grammatical language.

  27. My favorite “teeth grinders” are those using “there” for “they’re”, “your” for “you’re”, and “loosing” for “losing”. Aaaarrrggghhh!

  28. 1) I should “of” known better
    2) she had a cold, and her son was sick “to”
    3) ran into lots of *cousin’s* there
    4) they asked Jane and *I* if we were going
    5) do you think *there* coming?


    6) Let’s go stand “on” line

  29. What a thoroughly entertaining blog post and comment thread! Apparently improper grammar is de rigueur these days, but quite irksome when seen in print and heard on the news. Unfortunately, most people don’t seem to care (and feel it is rude to point out these errors.) Thank you all for reminding me that I am not alone, although it often feels that way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *