Pronoun Mayhem in High Places

1907 edition of The Daily Oklahoman. Now called the Oklahoman, this is a newspaper with a 129-year history.



Many newspapers nowadays restrict the articles on their websites to subscribers.

Some permit readers to access a limited number of articles during a given month.

Even with limited free viewing, papers may require readers to complete a survey before continuing to the article. The Oklahoman does this.

Here is a panel from the survey I triggered the other day:

A survey question on the Oklahoman website

Take a good look at the first option: “Me and/or my company built it.”

The Oklahoman. A newspaper that has existed in one form or another for 129 years. A newspaper that can boast at least one Pulitzer Prize winner and numerous awards for editorial content, photography, advertising, and online innovations.

Me and my company built it.

A construction not to be surprised at in a Facebook comment, but on the website of a respectable newspaper?

What’s wrong with it?

The first person pronoun has two forms: I and me.

Me is an object form. It will ALWAYS follow another word. It will NEVER be the first word in a sentence spoken or written in Standard English.

When a sentence begins with a compound subject (two people mentioned), good manners suggest putting the other person first.

My company and I built it.

My brother and I drove to Mexico City.

My colleagues and I held a meeting.

George and I have been friends since childhood.

The CEO and I had a difference of opinion.

In this age of incivility, even if the speaker wishes to go first, the only grammatically correct form of the pronoun used as a subject is still I:

I and my company built it.

I and my brother drove to Mexico City.

I and my colleagues held a meeting.

I and George have been friends since childhood.

As long as some readers remain who are acquainted with the basic rules of Standard English, grammatical errors like this one can only cause them to question the credibility of the offending publication’s other content.

Flawed Rules Are Better Than None

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Jeopardy Writers Get It Wrong Again

Jeopardy clue, December 19, 2017
Even though the Oxford English Dictionary is listed as one of their references, the Jeopardy writers occasionally write a clue without checking it.
On December 19, 2017, one of the categories was “More than one meaning.”
The clue was: “A coffin, or the gloomy feeling that comes upon you as it’s being carried.
The expected

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Agreeing with Trump on mike

Trump is one up on Colbert when it comes to spelling the shortened form of “microphone.”
At last, something I can agree with Trump about!
The other night in his monologue, Stephen Colbert ragged on President Trump’s tweet about Senator Jeff Flake, which included the following sentence:
Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of

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The Disappearing Irregular Past Participle

Until our remaining irregular verbs become regularized, perhaps elementary teachers could take the time to teach the past participle forms, and professional writers and speakers could make an effort to review

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The Pronunciation of "gerrymandering"

Political cartoon of 1812 depicting a “Gerry-mander.”
A word much in the news of late is gerrymandering. The term refers to the manipulation of voting district maps to favor one political party over another.
The word is a portmanteau as well as an eponym. It combines the name of Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), who was governor of Massachusetts from

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New Problem Lay Lie

Poor Greta.
After writing numerous posts on the correct use of the verbs lay and lie, I’m ready to concede that getting everyone to use them “correctly” is a losing battle.
Even if English teachers are teaching the concept, students are not listening.
So many people tell their dogs to “lay down” and describe bodies as “laying in

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Are Your Homonyms Showing?

Homonyms are the words that Spellcheck won’t catch for you, words like plane and plain and to, two, and too. Professional writers should get them

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Okja—Not for Children

A made-for-Netflix movie that competes favorably with the best Hollywood has to

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Optics and Perception

Why take a scientific term like “optics” and start using it to replace an ordinary word like “appearances” or “perception?”

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