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I can't take it anymore. At first it was only occasionally. Now it seems that every time I turn on the TV someone else is doing it. Doesn't our school system teach English anymore? I am referring, specifically, to pronouns. At least three times today I have heard expressions like "of, course, that's just between you and I" and "the party was for Susan and I".

I'll say it just one more time.

When used as the subject, use "I" instead of "me" as in "Andrew and I went to the movie". When used as an object either of a verb or a preposition, use "me" as in "the party was thrown for Susan and me." The easiest way to tell which to use is to replace the compound (Andrew and me) with the non-compound (me) and see if it still sounds right. Take the following sentence:

The party was thrown for Susan and I.

Which of the following two sounds right?

The party was thrown for I.
The party was thrown for me.

Simple, isn't it? Most of the confusion, I suspect, is from formal English phrases such as the following:

My brother is taller than I.

In formal English, I is gramatically correct because the sentence ends with an implied am as in

My brother is taller than I (am).

In conversational English, ending the sentence with me is considered proper. However, people who want to sound educated (most TV writers, I suspect) feel that always using the I form sounds classier. In fact, it is most often incorrect.

I am far from an expert in grammar but even high school graduates should have a basic grasp of the simpler rules.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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  • It would appear that you and I have similar sensibilities about grammar. We can't expect others to have the same erudition as you and I. If they make mistakes, let them, they're only demonstrating their ineptitude to you and me. And I ain't an expert in grammar either, although I … Read More

  • >I ain't an expert in grammar either, although I fancy myself a connaisseur. That is quite possibly the most hilarious way I have heard the words fancy, myself and connaisseur being used. I simply don't see grammar as being a sibling of fine cheeses and wines... Read More

  • 3

    > the language isn't changing at all. a lot of people are just either too lazy, too uninterested, or, in some cases, too dumb to learn and use it right. Formal rules, good ones at least, are derived from common usage, so the language is indeed changing. Also, common usage … Read More

  • 3

    Huck Fin isn't racist. But under the PC police state, it's considered racist because of the way it's worded. They never look beyond the fact that it contains the word "nigger", never read the context in which it is used. A word btw that blacks among themselves use extensively to … Read More

  • >I have always suspected that "till" was actually the older version of "until" I can always rely on Mike to "root" out the truth. Read More

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It would appear that you and I have similar sensibilities about grammar. We can't expect others to have the same erudition as you and I. If they make mistakes, let them, they're only demonstrating their ineptitude to you and me.

And I ain't an expert in grammar either, although I fancy myself a connaisseur.

Votes + Comments
Nice example of the use of I and me!
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I ain't an expert in grammar either, although I fancy myself a connaisseur.

That is quite possibly the most hilarious way I have heard the words fancy, myself and connaisseur being used. I simply don't see grammar as being a sibling of fine cheeses and wines...

Edited by Assembly Guy

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The language is changing! The accusative case in personal pronoun is just a historical remnant, I think it is now losing that too.

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the language isn't changing at all. a lot of people are just either too lazy, too uninterested, or, in some cases, too dumb to learn and use it right.

it's like driving a car. if tomorrow about every driver starts to hit pedestrians with their cars, will the point be:
1. the laws regarding driving cars are changing
or would you rather say:
2. those idiots shouldn't be allowed to drve cars, since they're obviously not very able to do so in a correct way.

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that'd depend on who's in charge of changing the law... If those guys and gals think it in their own best interest to change the law they will.
And languages do change, usually through being influenced by other languages. And English being a language that's spoken more by non-natives than natives, there's quite a lot of potential for that.

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yes, language is a living concept and it changes over time, but I was merely pointing to the fact that the lack of knowledge of grammar as displayed above is not about to decide the new official 'version' of the language.

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Language changes; usage changes; words are added to the lixicon but are seldom removed, they just get down-graded. Often the changes can be seen in thier opposites like the words 'disengenuous' 'ruthless' 'reckles' - if you ever get a chance to wander through the Oxford English Dictionary, you will discover the first time the word was recorded and trace the change in usage over time. Words are created, borrowed from other languages, sometimes dragged out of past for a new use.

When I trained to be a radio announcer/DJ the word 'long-lived' was pronounced with a long i (as the word 'jive' not as the word 'give'). There are theories around that suggest that the reason modern English has not changed as much over time as usual so that Shakespeare's plays will stay in our language. Once of my favorites is because it is series of puns across 2 languages:
Hoist by his own petard - which effectively translates as blown up by his own bomb, but means caught in his own trap. The pun comes from those crazy French, when they heard a bomb it sounded to them like a fart; petard is French for fart.

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The English language changed dramatically around 1100 AD, because the common people thought it was fancy to use French words, like the noble people did.
Every native Enlgish speaking person, can probably guess, that I'm not.
I just can make myself understandable and most likely I make some grammatical mistakes now and then.
So, I'm certainly no "connoisseur" of the English grammar, but it upsets me to read sentences in books, magazines etc. like: "He need to see a doctor."

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I guess a lot of folks went to the mall when they should have went to the library. lol

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the language isn't changing at all. a lot of people are just either too lazy, too uninterested, or, in some cases, too dumb to learn and use it right.

Formal rules, good ones at least, are derived from common usage, so the language is indeed changing. Also, common usage tends to eliminate useless or awkward rules over time. Splitting infinitives and ending a sentence with a preposition are two good examples of awkward and unnecessary rules.

"Do not split infinitives" is a "rule" (note that it's technically not even a legitimate rule) taken from Latin then bastardized to fit English, but in Latin it's grammatically impossible to split an infinitive. In English it limits expressiveness and encourages awkward clauses.

"Do not end a sentence with a preposition" also damages expressiveness, and also happens to not be a legitimate rule. The reason for the rule is that a preposition ending is supposedly weak, but given the awkward sentence construction required to follow the rule in many cases, you end up with a weak sentence in general.

The me and I difference is quite subtle, and I prefer not to expect anyone to get it right. My biggest pet peeve is misuse of your/you're or their/they're/there.

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Well as a non-native English speaker, I laugh myself senseless over the use of said language. Its appeal, IMO, is its flexibility, huge borrowed vocab and the great way it does away with the 'person' in most of its verb tenses. So you can usually make yourself understood with a little knowledge. Combine this with the pervasive interests of the UK/USA around the world and you almost have a global pidgin. Who can claim rights to rules of grammar any more? I see the language being b'stardized by the English, the Americans, Aussies, my own compatriots... What may be considered correct grammar in one part of the world may not necessarily tally with a different version of English in another. That's not to say that standards of communication should not be maintained. There should be absolutes, but who should be enforcing these rules over the great unwashed?

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Splitting infinitives and ending a sentence with a preposition are two good examples of awkward and unnecessary rules.

I agree. That's why we have the distinction between formal and conversational English but I think we have relaxed the language too much. I also hear sentences like "Me and Bert are going to the store." That's like the difference between relaxed-fit pants and hanging-half-off-your-a$$ pants.

"Do not end a sentence with a preposition"

Ditto. I'm reminded of a (sort of) joke where a "proper" Boston woman is in a Missouri restaurant. The waitress, upon hearing her accent, asks "where y'all from?".

The woman replies, snootily, "I'm from where we do not end sentences with a preposition."

The waitress ponders this for a moment then says. "I see. In that case, where y'all from, bitch."

Incidentally, I also have a problem with it's and its. Fortunately it's not much of a problem in spoken form.

Votes + Comments
love the joke :)
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In another 20 years or so you won't be able to read English newspapers and magazines any more -- young people are growing up learning to text and use shortened forms of English words. "LOL" is just one of hundreds of such shortened words and phrases.

And I ain't an expert

When I was in school you would have gotten your knuckles smacked for saying "ain't" because "there's no such word".

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When I was in school you would have gotten your knuckles smacked for saying "ain't" because "there's no such word".

They has schoolz when you was a kid?

Edited by diafol

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When I was in school you would have gotten your knuckles smacked for saying "ain't" because "there's no such word".

The contraction "ain't" is a perfectly acceptable form, even though it's very old and classic vernacular (from the 1600s). It's considered as a familiar form, and improper in formal speech (although that is currently under dispute, especially since it is considered acceptable in formal speech in Southern American English dialects, and since some contractions like "I'm" or "it's" are often accepted in semi-formal speech). But this forum is not a formal setting, the last time I checked, and so, it's perfectly acceptable to use it here.

If that contraction was good enough for Charles Dickens and for Mark Twain, it's good enough for me. And I ain't joking ;)

And by the way, contractions like "I'm", "it's" or "I'll" are both more modern and less formal than "ain't". If you can use the ones, you can certainly use the other. I personally like this form, and I use it often, even in semi-formal / formal speech (not formal writing). And if some people see it as "lower-class" and have a problem with its use because of that, then it's their problem for making such a discrimination.

Edited by mike_2000_17: added exampel

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Just goes to prove how the English language is changing over time -- from my generation to yours today, and how it's usage is somewhat different from country-to-country, and even within different parts of the same country (like USA). When I was in school the word "ain't" was not in any dictionary, which is why my teachers always told us there is no such word. It's probably in all the dictionaries today.

But this forum is not a formal setting

That's certainly right -- which is why I rarely critize grammer on any of these forums. These are IT forums, not English grammer forums. I've often found that people who's mother toung is not English are better English writers than native-English people, most likely because of the formal training they had to have in order to learn the language. I know several Americans who can't write a coherent sentence if their life depended on it.

Edited by Ancient Dragon

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"Ain't" is a strange one, isn't it? In the UK it's often stressed as to make sure that we make everybody else aware that we're aware that it's not a word for propah consumption. So, it's pretty much used for effect by many. On the other hand, it's ingrained as a valid word in many disparate communities in the UK. You wouldn't hear newscasters or reporters using it on the TV, but tune in to the Dog-awful "Eastenders" soap opera and you'll hear it in every scene.
I like the further contraction of It isn't/ain't: 'Tain't

Laughed myself silly when a mate of mine having cycled his way through Ireland and said, "Ooh me taint hurts".
"Your what?" I asked.
"My taint", he replied.
"What the hell's your taint?"
"Well, I dunno what it's called but it's that place... you know, taint yer balls an' it taint yer arze"

Edited by diafol

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So, it's pretty much used for effect by many.

Yeah, that's true. That's part of why I like to use it. Being a native French speaker, my English tends to be slanted towards more "fancy" words that come from French and come more naturally to me. Sometimes, I come across as snob or elitist or whatever (even had people say that to me, on more than a few occasions), like native French speakers often do. So, using terms like "ain't" balances things out a bit.

Just goes to prove how the English language is changing over time -- from my generation to yours today

Yeah, I think that on average, it takes about 300 years for the language to become so different that a normal person (without special linguistics training) can no longer understand the words of his ancestors. For example, Shakespeare in its original version is virtually unintelligible for native English speakers today (they can only understand it with some help and careful study of the text, but it's not like they can read it off and understand it all right away). Some languages have changed less than others (e.g., Icelandic), but most languages change significantly over time, and older people (70s/80s) are often linguistically very far already from teenagers or young adults (among other differences, obviously). That's why you find grumpy old men sounding alarms about the youth "losing their language" in all generations in all countries since the invention of the printing press (in reality, the youth is not losing the language, it's the old folks' language that becomes obsolete).

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If the relaxed-fit analogy didn't sway you then consider paint. When it is applied by someone who knows how to use it it can be a beautiful thing. Of course, if you let some moron slap on any old colour you just might find some other moron who will pay a few million for it (Voice of Fire). But generally, someone who knows nothing about painting will generally produce something that nobody wants to look at.

Writing is like that. For that matter, so is film, as M. Night Shaymalan proves again and again.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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In both Trollope and Dickens, the characters who use the word 'ain't' are upper-class and/or professional; as recently as 1907 it was used by both ends of society and was defended in a book on social commentary (as upper class calloquialism). It is usable in place almost all the contractions - it is pretty useful but the grammarians started in on it sometine around 1914.

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I don't say or write "ain't" unless I am doing it deliberatly to make a point more emphatic sometime. I was taught not to use the word and, by habit I guess, I never did most of my life. I think people use it like the famous 4 letter F-word, to make it quicker than using a proper conjunction and people still understand what you are saying.

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Also, Dickens wrote dialog that reflected the way people actually spoke rather than putting proper English into the mouths of people who wouldn't know how to use it.

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And Dickens lived in a time when most common people were illeterate. Just because a famous author writes something in literature doesn't mean it's acceptable in conversional or otherwise written English. I know a couple of people who can't say two words without one of them being the F bomb -- I really dislike that, and won't watch stand-up commedians or movies where that word is sprinkled liberally.

George Carlin is probably the only stand-up comedian I can think of who doesn't offend me with his dirty mouth, why? Probably because all his speaches had a point, they were something worth listening to.

Edited by Ancient Dragon

Votes + Comments
He put 'ain't' into the mouths of the professional class not the lower classes and he had the voices and speech of his time and place and never use
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Although, My speaking skills are fine, but I make lot of grammtical errors while writing. Can you suggest some ways so that I cam improve my writing and speaking skills ? As many of you have English as your mother tongue language, but I don't have this thing with me.I have seen that prit and deceptikon English is really very good. As I am not American, could you please suggest me how can I improve my commuunication skills? Thanks.

Edited by nitin1

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From what I've seen, your English is some of the best I've seen on the forum from a non-native-speaker
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Can you suggest some ways so that I cam improve my writing and speaking skills ?

There's no quick and easy solution. Read and listen to people with the skills you want, and try to emulate them in your own writing and speech.

I have seen that prit and deceptikon English is really very good.

I don't know about priteas, but linguistics is a hobby of mine. I've also invested a not insignificant amount of time writing novels, novellas, short stories, and technical documentation. The key to fluency is and always has been practice.

Edited by deceptikon

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