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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Grammar rant

This is in regards to my RPG addiction (and the ones I'm following are enough, thank you. :))

I'm seeing a persistent grammatical error in pretty much all of them and it's driving me *nuts*.

Do people not learn about cases in school anymore?

Oh, right. Well, it's actually important.

"I' is subjective, "me" is objective. Now, no one is writing "Me went to class and snogged my boyfriend."

Thank goodness.

What they are writing are "Professor Snape caught Draco and I snogging."

If it's in predicate of the sentence, it's probably objective case.

I can guess what causes the confusion - the fact that it seems that word "me" is outlawed plus adding another person. So, take away the other person. If the pronoun "I" now sounds silly, or doesn't make sense, it's probably meant to be "me". "Professor Snape caught I snogging" doesn't work very well. :) (Even laying aside the action involved.)

This is basic stuff, folks. I can forgive something that happens rarely, but it happens *everywhere*.

/rant

Comments

I totally agree.

Drives me batty!

No, actually, we don't learn about cases in school anymore.

But I was raised with parents who made an effort to speak correctly around us, so I grew up with instinctive grammar. That means that while I don't know the names of the rules that violation of makes my eyes bleed, my eyes still bleed.

I used to teach this stuff. Really. For a year, I taught actual grammar to a bunch of junior high school students. I don't know if they learned, but I hope some of it stayed in their subconscious.
That was in 1987. Gah. 18 years ago.

But I am aware that grammar is considered irrelevent and disposable these days. I don't understand that at all. I really don't.

No, it's not fun or exciting, but it's vital. If you don't how to use the tools, you're going to build a bad house.

You were trained in the use of the tools, even if you weren't told this a vise and this is a wrench. That puts you miles ahead of the game.

Speaking of addictions...

I am blaming you for my addiction to Harry Potter slash. And didn't need another fandom.

Oh, you poor thing.

Good luck finding the needles in *that* haystack.

Good old hypercorrection. Gets 'em every time.

I sometimes tell my students that if they really want to learn English, they should take a semester of Latin.

Don't forget the people who know "I" is incorrect but absolutely cannot bring themselves to use "me," leading to sentences such as "Professor Snape caught Draco and myself snogging."

I see that from a lot of people who should know better. (Also "myself", which is both incorrect there and pretentious-sounding.) I don't know why it's so hard to get people to think it through without the conjunction -- no one would write "...caught I snogging", so they know at some level that it's wrong, but they just don't think about it when writing.

I guess they've internalized a rule of "'me' is wrong", and they only see one other option, so they're just using it without evaluating it.

I hate that as well, and really don't get this irrational aversion some people have against using "me." Perhaps some people don't realize English has cases because they're less obvious than with Latin or even German. Perhaps it's somehow harder to realize when cases aren't obvious everywhere because you have four or five forms for each noun (doesn't have Finnish like 15?) and every noun or at least its article sounds different when it's a direct object and different still as an indirect object, and not just the pronouns? But really what I wonder is, shouldn't this *sound* wrong to people, even if they haven't learned about cases formally? Or would they talk like that as well?

(a) Yes, they talk like that. *wince*

(b) The "irrational aversion" is hypercorrection-- when they were kids, they'd say stuff like "Me and Jennifer are going to the mall", and their mom (or teacher or whoever) would whap them and say "'Jennifer and I', it's 'Jennifer and I'" and so they dutifully say "Jennifer and I are going to the mall" without realizing /why/, so that then when they want to say "He waved at me and Jennifer", they think, no, that's wrong, must say "He waved at Jennifer and I".

It's directly related to the fact that English doesn't really have cases. As, I think, is the confusion regarding its/it's (which seems straightforward as fuck to me, but then again, I don't have problems with the me/I thing), and when to use an apostrophe with s ("Clam's on Friday's only!") English speakers aren't used to thinking in cases, which means (a lot of the time) they don't understand /why/ something's done the way it's done, so they make a wild guess at the rule, usually overapplying it.

English has cases? No, really I knew that, but..

Um.... Uh-oh...

*frantically reads back through fics to see how many times she herself has pulled this stupid stunt* though in my fics it's Snape who gets... nevermind...

And what about the subjunctive? I was writing the other day something like "She would finally know what it was to be desired, even though it were by a monster rather than a man." and that sounded wrong, so I changed it to "even though it was" and that STILL sounded wrong so I went with "even though it would be".

Still not sure I did the right thing (the fact that it's some dreadful purple prose aside...)

Re: English has cases? No, really I knew that, but..

Fic? *eyes brighten*

Did you try stripping it down and looking at it?

"She would finally be desired, even though it were by a monster" sounds fairly wrong.

"She would finally be desired, even though it was by a monster" sounds a lot better.

Then, I go by "it sounds right" most times rather than lists of rules, because while I was Taught to Speak Correctly, it was through correct example and correction rather than by a rule book.

*ponders further* Yes, it's "were" for more than one, and "was" for one -- "She would finally be desired, even though they were monsters", so it has to be "was" for one, even though the sentence is undoubtedly purple and edging into the magenta. (I like complex prose.)

In a hundred years, it might be correct to say "Professor Snape caught Draco and I snogging". But we'll all be dead by then, so we won't care.

I find those grammatical errors annoying, too. I also find it annoying that most slash writers seem incapable of spelling the word "definitely".

Definitely? Heck, some of them can't spell "yaoi". (anime slash term). As my friend the yaoi fan says, "It's a four-letter word, if you can't handle spelling it, I'm not reading your fic."

I make some spelling mistakes too I'm sure (I'll probably find one in here when I'm done) but for heaven's sake, you're online! There are so many dictionaries.

Sorry, sorry, just couldn't resist.