It’s a Difficult Time for Hank and Me!
There’s something that’s been bothering me, lately. When people are rich and famous and they go on news and talk shows and talk a lot, we expect that their command of the English language will be full, and lush, and perfect. Often, I’m troubled because the people whose language our kids are emulating can’t form a simple sentence.
As our world is impacted more and more by the world wide web and interaction with bloggers, reality tv stars, and the latest internet sensations, little by little, what command we have left is being eroded.
In truth, most of our kids aren’t moving too far beyond rap speak, reality tv star speak, and video game speak. Young college grads and new teachers have been unduly influenced and are no longer sure of their own command of the language.
We are seeing a decline of accurately spoken and written English language. As long as children are measured by standardized tests (and certainly American students are) it behooves writers, poets, parents, teachers, and other lovers of language to keep watch over Standardized English to the best of our combined abilities.
Granted, English is a hard language to learn. Many immigrants say that they’ve never learned the difference between certain words that sound the same, are sometimes spelled the same, but differ in meaning, depending on how they’re used.
Americans must spend twelve years in school learning to speak their own language and they’d better be listening in English class because the rules are myriad and varied. The whole thing is darn right difficult! However there are some quick, easy rules that aren’t for rocket-scientist taking English. I chose I and me today because it’s one of my pet peeves.
A lot of English speakers want to play it safe and use I in every case. But no, let’s not do that because, between you and I, I’m sick of you and I! (Get it?)
“It’s a difficult time for Hank and I. Why is this wrong?
Remove Hank from the conversation and see.
“It’s a difficult time for I.” Really? That’s laughable, isn’t it?
Here are the rules:
- He threw the ball to Hank and me.
Me is a predicate nominative. Therefore, it’s at the end of the sentence, in the predicate, and always receives a common noun or pronoun (me). He threw the ball to Hank and me. (He didn’t throw the ball to I.)
2. Hank and I were very glad he threw the ball.
I in this sentence is part of a compound subject and the subject is always a proper noun or pronoun. Hank and I were very glad he threw the ball.
wrong: Our followers sent gifts to Kanye and I.
No! Your followers didn’t send gifts to “Kanye and I”. As wrong as it seems, the correct phrase is they sent gifts to “Kanye and me“.
correct: Kanye and I wrote thank you notes.
Glad I got that off my chest. Next, we’ll examine “used to” and “use to” as in, Tom used to throw the ball to Hank and me, but he stopped. (Linda, why’d you put that d on use?)