Saturday, November 13, 2010

Me, Myself, & I (small rant)

As a former English teacher I tend to be a little more sensitive than most about grammatical errors. Over the years I've managed to stop flinching when reading something online that misuses the words your, you're, there, they're, or their. And I'm becoming resigned to the fact that punctuation has become a free-for-all with writers making it up as they go along. Though I have to admit I was a bit stunned recently when someone on a forum wrote that she "was not aloud to use the computer".

But spoken malapropisms still make the hairs rise on my neck, specifically the ever increasing misuse of "myself". All the pronouns that end in self or selves are reflexive. That means they refer back to the subject of the sentence. Like looking in a mirror.


I can see MYSELF.

You get the idea. But if someone else is looking at you...
JOHN can see ME.

We're taught as children to name ourselves last and say "you and I are going shopping". But saying that "he gave money for shopping to you and I" is bad because he should have given it to "you and me".

I, me, and myself are pronouns with very different uses. Using "myself" all the time is silly and wrong. And while its use is sometimes meant to sound educated or formal, it really reveals the opposite.

Sarah didn't give the spreadsheets to John and MYSELF. She gave them to John and ME.
Arthur and MYSELF won't be taking the train to NYC. But Arthur and I will.
YOU and ME won't be around to see the change. But maybe YOU and I will.
When in doubt, remove the other person or people from the sentence and you have "Sarah didn't give the spreadsheets to me, I won't be taking the train to NYC," and "I won't be around to see the change."

The opinions of people like MYSELF should be ignored. But the opinions of people like ME shouldn't.
But you can't really correct people. They would hate you. And with everything that's going on in the world, does grammar really matter?


  1. I'm afraid the English teacher in you is showing!...My pet peeve is bloggers who don't reply when they're spoken to, or left messages for. {I was raised in the south with manners} So, we all have our things to contend with! :-))

  2. Hi Poetess--
    Nice to see you're still following me even through my rants.

  3. I love seeing what you're up to. :-) And especially your nice photos when you do shows...since I've never done a craft show. Keep up the good work. I'm here. :-)

  4. :) Honestly, I laughed reading this post. Being originally from Ukraine and having only been here in US for 3 years, and obviously having NOT English as my first language, I get quite aggravated when reading all the misspellings and misuses. I don't claim to have perfect English. Far from it. But mine is better than English of oh so many Americans. So all I want to say - I understand you :)