It's All About Me (and Maybe George)
Common wisdom dictates that if a grammatical "mistake" becomes common enough, it is no longer a mistake. What used to be a sound grammar rule may change with real-world usage; meaning that if no one conforms to the rule, the rule changes. Real-world usage aside, the pervasive use of "me and so-and-so" in our culture drives me nuts!
Once upon a time, we would say, "George and I went to the store." A couple decades ago, if someone said, "Me and George went to the store," the listener would conclude that the speaker was uneducated. Nowadays, turn on the television and the newscaster is saying, "Me and ... blah, blah, blah." Talk radio hosts say it. Heck, I've observed people with post-graduate degrees embracing the "me and so-and-so real-world grammar."
I ran a little experiment while writing this article and found something even more frightening. I have intentionally included the "me and George" error and other grammatical mishaps in this article and ran it through Microsoft Word's spelling and grammar check. Guess what? It didn't even catch the errors!
Is this poor grammar just the product of a narcissistic "Me, me, me society?" Have we become sloppy? Or am I way behind the times and perceived as dumb because I am not using real-world usage?
I'll be honest ... it's been a very long time since I sat through a semester of grammar class. I can see or hear what's off with a sentence but do not know what the error is specifically called. So, instead of finding the right words and rules to explain it, here's the common sense rule that I learned back in second grade:
Take out the third person and see if the sentence makes sense. For example, if you are confused and wondering if you should write or say "Me and George went to the store," keep George out of it and try this: "Me went to the store." Sounds ridiculous, eh? On the other hand,If you were to use the correct version, which is "George and I went to the store," split up the correct sentence and we have, "George went to the store," and "I went to the store." This is an easy, sure-fire way to figure out if your sentence makes grammatical sense.
Simple grammar tips aside, those of us who are offended by the constant "me and so-and-so" grammar can at least take comfort in the fact that pronoun variations such as "Me and him went to the store" or "Her and me went to the store" have not yet skyrocketed to the top of the common usage charts.
Now that this irritant is off my chest, me going to the store. Maybe George wants to go, too.
Urbain Beck is a freelance writer who has authored numerous online and off-line articles and technical reports. If you are a writer and have been published online and would like to show off your writing, be sure to submit some blurbs at The Blurbosphere. You'll receive one-way links from PR2, PR3 and PR4 blogs at no charge. Visit http://www.blurbosphere.com for details.
Published August 9th, 2007
Filed in Writing