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.


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