Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pronouns: Mad Men Goof, Too.



Even fabulous TV stars make grammatical errors. Except for talent and fame and money, they're just like you and me! In this Q&A with Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser, the actor makes a common grammatical goof when using a object pronoun instead of a subject pronoun. So many people do this, but it's actually one of the easiest mistakes to catch and self-correct once you get the hang of it.

Vincent says (fifth question down):
I think me and [Elisabeth] have more of a history doing drama together...

Where does Vincent go wrong? He should have said "Elisabeth and I."

Quick rule:
  • Replace a subject with a subject pronoun. Whether the subject is singular or plural does not matter. 

Try this:
  1. To find the correct pronoun, eliminate the second person. Now run through the sentence again. It doesn't make sense to say, "I think me have more of a history doing drama together...." Of course you would say, "I think I have more of a history doing drama together...  
  2. Then add the second person back into the sentence.  

Correction: 
  • I think Elisabeth and I have more of a history doing drama together...

6 comments:

  1. I was so happy when I read this article. Finally, someone has caught what has become the most common grammatical error of the last 30+ years. Forget double negatives. Thise are sometimes used for effect, but this is just plain widespread English error.
    It has been so long that I can't remember anyone on TV, cinema or in real life using the above mentioned proper form when speaking of himself/herself and another. I honestly thought that the rules of grammar had changed.
    I learned way way (way) back that when speaking or writing the proper form, one is to always put the other person(s) first and lastly, one's self.
    Could this be a symptom of the Narcissistic times in which we live?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think it has anything to do with narcissism. I just think that people get used to hearing bad grammar, so they no longer recognize basic errors as an assault on the English language. Keep fighting the good fight!

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