Rhymes With Fuchsia

Monday, March 17, 2008

Conan's Corner: Just Between We

In a couple of comment threads on political blogs I read, other posters have asserted that the only people using whom these days are pedants and cranks. Conan wouldn't go quite that far, naturally, but he does bemoan the rapid slide of English toward becoming a two-case language. The nominative (I, you, he) and possessive (my, your, his, its*) are alive and well, but the objective (me, you, him) becomes ever rarer. While between you and I has drawn the derision of English teachers far and wide since Conan was a mere babe, nowadays people say things like "Do you want to go to the LYS with Susan and I?" — causing Conan to assume the fetal position and chew his own knees.

I think the mistake comes from memories we all have of being corrected from saying "Me and Susan are going to the LYS." There's an easy way to tell which pronoun to use: take all the names out. Remove Susan from both sentences, and you have "Me I am going to the LYS," and "Do you want to go to the LYS with I me?"

You will make Conan very happy.

And, speaking of happy people, Taz thanks you all for the kind birthday wishes.

He celebrated in style with ice cream with chocolate sauce and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday."
*Conan cannot resist this opportunity to point out that no possessive pronoun ever contains an apostrophe.


  • Taz is such a cutie!! I am sad I missed his B day. Give him a hug and a late Happy happy from me!

    By Blogger Sorka, at 11:57 PM  

  • Great tip on when to use I and when to use me. I'll admit to getting confused on that one.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 7:10 AM  

  • Poor Conan... such a toughie, but so frail... I'm down with Conan on the we/us (your way is so much easier!) and its things. I still put bring/take into sentences in my head...I think I'm getting it. S.L.O.W.L.Y.

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 7:21 AM  

  • Thank you!! I have a bit of both the pedant and the crank in me, and I admit to referring to multiple style guides on a regular basis. The one that always makes me pause is lay/lie. I always need to look them up. Or avoid them.

    By Blogger Danielle, at 8:50 AM  

  • Conan rocks! (I envision him in his nice tweed jacket with elbow patches, a knitted tie, an understated suede headban holdinghis flowing locks back from his high, arched forehead and his warm, lively brown eyes. The jacket, by the way, is tailored to downplay those magnificent pectorals and biceps, but no ammount of tailoring will ever make Conan look anything but - sigh - potent.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:26 AM  

  • Yes yes yes. And yes.

    I also hate "they/them" as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun, but I don't have much company in that boat.

    By Anonymous Beth S., at 1:00 PM  

  • Conan and me? We'd get along just fine.

    Ahahahahaha! No, really. I go crazy listening to the news, television, radio, my kids, grown ups with English degrees. I am constantly correcting, sometimes mentally, but still. I will continue to grammar avenge until I just cannot hear it anymore.

    By Anonymous Teresa C, at 5:02 PM  

  • Taz knows how to celebrate right! Another Happy Birthday wish! My English is bad. Not terrible, but bad.

    By Blogger Carol, at 6:09 PM  

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