Monday, November 05, 2007

Bob and myself are going to Lucy and I's swimmin' hole.

I will be the first to admit that I watch far too much reality television. And then I have the audacity to criticize the genre, as though I am surprised by the lack of quality. Knowing all of this, I can still trace my recent grammatical aggravation primarily to reality TV.

Today's Grammatical Rant:
People Who Use the Words "Myself" and "I" in Attempts to Appear Intelligent.
Now, surely you realize that simply by writing about anything that is grammatical in nature, I am guaranteed to have at least one grammatical error in this post, as well as 2-3 typos. It's just the way things work. That duly stated, I will proceed to my point, which is threefold.
1. The Basic Rules:
Most people know that you always put the other person first, such as "Mike and I" or "Mom and I". Somehow as a result of years of teachers and parents yelling "I!" after children's innocent "Can me and Katie go play outside?" comments, there are some idiots out there who really believe that it is always correct to say "I" no matter what. This is in fact, quite wrong.
If you must, then simply remove the other party from your sentence to see how it should sound. For example, the sentence "Eddie and I like to pick our noses." is correct for two reasons. One, we both like to pick our noses. Two, if I took Eddie out of the equation, "I like to pick my nose" sounds far better than the Elmo-esque "Me like to pick my nose." Now, if we were to see a third party picking their nose, one might say, "Look! That girl likes to pick her nose too! Maybe she could join Eddie and me in therapy." In this case, "me" would be correct because upon removing Eddie once more, the sentence would read "Maybe she could join me in therapy." It would sound foolish to say "join I in therapy". Which brings me to reality television, where apparently no one has ever been taught this basic rule.
2. Taking Things Plural:
The same people who have always been taught that "I" is always far superior to "me" tend to worsen the situation when discussing their relationships. It never fails that someone on my trashy TV show is speaking quite earnestly to the camera about their relationships when it happens: they try to sound smart. The phrase "John and I's relationship" inevitably comes out of someone's mouth. Have you ever in your life heard of the word "I's"? Would you ever say "That book is I's"?? Would you? Then don't say "Eddie and I's house". There's no sense to it. I think the correct way to say it, if you insisted on pushing through this miserable skanky camera interview, would be "John's and my relationship." Don't hold me to it, but it sure sounds better than the alternative.
3. Bringing in Myself:
Now I might be going out on a limb here because I've never actually read the real rule, so feel free to opine. But! The word "myself" is starting to get out of hand. It again appears to go back to people trying to sound smarter than they are. It's not quite as masterful as knowing when to use "whom", which seems to elusively evade some people, but it seems to make people feel as though they are close to that coveted grammatical status.
Let me elaborate. It's perfectly okay to say "I hurt myself picking my nose this morning." It is not okay to say "Eddie and myself picked our noses yesterday." Would you say "Myself picked my nose today"? I think not. It's almost as though the people on my shows (of course no one in real life would ever make these errors) took the "say I!" lesson to heart, and then as though to prove that they had surpassed that usage error, they began to use "myself" instead of I because clearly it sounds a lot fancier. "You will be judged this evening by the panel of judges, including Mark, Ronald, and myself." No, no, no! It vexes me everytime. Don't use myself when it should just be me or I.
Whew! I feel as though I have unloaded some great grammatical angst. That will be all today. Class dismissed. Gonna go pick my nose now.

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