A Post-Election Rant

I’m sure I am not alone in rejoicing at the end of the election campaign season.  I’m tired beyond belief of the scary, horror movie off screen voices telling us that the world as we know it will end if such and such a candidate is elected or not.  It’s over.  It’s done.  I voted.  Some of my folks and issues won.  Others did not. Now can we all just take a breath and find something to smile about? ( In view of the remainder of this post, to put that previous sentence in a proper grammatical light, I should probably have said, “about which to smile.”  About is a preposition.  It should be followed by an object, but in this case, I’m having my cake and eating it, too.)

Of course, it’s not only the campaign advertising that has set my teeth on edge.  This week I found myself yelling at the TV set during MASTERPIECE THEATER!!!  And what was it that sent me into a tantrum?  Several times in the course of one program, characters said “Between you and I!”  Hell’s, bells you hounds!” to quote my much loved but still dreaded senior English teacher at Bisbee High School, Mrs. Medigovich.

Between is a preposition.  Because prepositions* are NOT to end sentences with, prepositions are usually followed by objects of prepositions.  And if those objects happen to be personal pronouns they need to be in the objective case.  Here’s a handy dandy reminder about personal pronouns.

Subjective case:  I, you, we, they, who.

Objective case:  Me, you, us, them, whom.

As you can see, you is a switch hitter.  It goes both ways.

The subjective case is used when the personal pronoun is the subject of a sentence.  Tom and I went to the store.  NOT!  NOT!  NOT!  Me and Tom went to the store.  Putting Tom’s name first is a matter of being polite rather than a point of grammar.  For years I’ve attempted to teach members of our family that “Mean Tom went to the store,” is more a complaint about Tom’s behavior than it is about something they did!

So back to Masterpiece Theater.  No one in his or her right mind would say, “Between we.”  Doesn’t work.  Doesn’t sound right.  Between us does.   So why on earth would “Between you and I” work?  It doesn’t.  At least not for me.  (Did you notice that?  For is a preposition followed by the personal pronoun me–objective case.)

I think one of the best lessons ever in how to misuse personal pronouns is from the following:

Me love has flew

Him did I dirt.

Me did not know

Him were a flirt.

So them in love

Let I forbid

Lest they be done

Like I be did.

 

Him has gone.

Him has flown.

Him has left I

All alone.

 

Us cannot come to he.

Him cannot come to we.

I was never meant to was,

So writing poetry’s all I does.

 

If you fix the grammar, it doesn’t rhyme.  I don’t care.  You are not going to force me off my grammatical high horse.  I went to the store.  Tom and I went to the store.  Between us NOT  Between we.  And definitely NOT Between you and I.

And while I’m at it,  don’t get me started on the difference between gerunds and participles.  Gerunds are ING words used as nouns.  Participles are ING words used as adjectives.  I have a very colorful way of bringing the difference between the two home, but it’s probably not fit to print at the PI.com website.  And it would make those of you who drink coffee while reading this blog splatter coffee all over your computer screens.

Wait a minute.  I just remembered.  When I started reading Zane Grey in third grade, there were occasionally parts of words that were blanked out.  I soon figured out that that the first part of —-ed was probably damn.  So I’ll just let you fill in the blanks.  Gerund:  —-ing is good.  Participle:  No —-ing way!

Thus endeth the grammar screed for the day from an English Major who obviously endured far too many election campaign commercials.

Amen, sister.  Preach on!

*In case you came of age after the educational system stopped teaching parts of speech, here’s a handy guide to some often used prepositions:  up, down, in, out, over, under, for , before, beside, between, behind.

30 thoughts on “A Post-Election Rant

  1. I too am glad the ads are over. I got so sick of ” I have my voice and my Mom has her voice.”, 20 times or so in an hour. The grammar stuff drives me crazy too, especially when they do not know the difference between an adverb and an adjective. I am always saying to my husband, adverbs tell how, when, and where. You do not drive safe as the broadcasters say, you drive safely. You don’t do good, you do well. I do not know where most tv broadcasters went to school, but they must not have taught grammar there. It is appalling. I am of the age, where every year we has phonics books in elementary grades and covered the grammar territory once again. Hooray to you for this blog. Yet, I think, good grammar has gone the way of all things.

  2. Your grammar lesson would have made Mrs. Medigovich proud. She always knew more about us than we did about ourselves. She made Macbeth so entertaining, especially the witches. I will always remember her fondly and with a little trepidation.

  3. We are also relieved that the elections are over. Each year we are so excited about voting for our issues and people, by the time the vote is over we do not care who or what wins. I think the worst is that EVERYONE lies. I personally hate piers so its hard to vote for one. Well 2016 is a long ways away so we’ll just live well and love well.
    Have a WONDERFUL week and I’ll join you for Morning Coffee next friday. My favorite date… Jan

  4. While it is true I have a B.A. in English Lit., I learned grammar in grade school. I remember many workbooks and lessons. But what sticks in my mind 60 years (I am also a woman of a certain age) later, is the cartoon poster above the chalkboard depicting two women, one on either side of a picket fence, with the inscribed words: “between you and me.” I have also been a classroom teacher, and I often think about how it is the simplest of examples which provide the most lasting lessons. I do not claim to be an expert and I have quite likely made a few punctuation errors in this comment, but you get the drift. Hearing or reading “between you and I” is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. LOL!

    I lived in the Federal Way area for 17 years during the 70’s and 80’s. I suspect we have a few mutual acquaintances in AAUW and WICS. Because of my love of Seattle, I started reading your Beaumont mysteries. Of course, I became hooked and I have read and continue ro read everything you write. Thank you for so many hours of reading pleasure! We may spend some time in Arizona this winter, so maybe I will have an opportunity to meet you. Thank you for stopping in Ann Arbor this year. I was unable to attend, but I hope you had a good turnout and will consider coming back to the “mitten.”

  5. One of my personal pet peeves is the misuse of it’s as a possessive. I wish writers for websites understood that “it’s” is ONLY a contraction of “it is”; the possessive form is “its”. The other biggest offender I spot regularly is the use of “effect” rather than “affect”. Mrs. Bromleigh drummed that one into me in the seventh grade. I was affected by the election advertising. The effect was that I hated all the candidates. My personal rant for the day has now concluded.

    • Barbara, thank you for explaining the difference between it’s and its. It has been a problem for ever and now know the right way to use my it’s/its.

  6. You must retain information better than I do!! In country school, I learned, along with the older grades, parts of speech and how to diagram them in sentences. I would not want to be tested on that now. But I will remember today’s lesson on gerunds!

  7. Until, by, into, after, from,
    Across, against, with, toward, on,
    Among,around, along, of, to,
    Beside, beyond, below, at, through.

    Off, during, like, near; inside!

    First verse and trailer I learned in grade school.

  8. In my opinion, all political advertisements should be banned from television and radio! Unfortunately, California continues to sink deeper into the liberal political pit.

    Your grammar lessons and reminders are appreciated. I feel the same way as you about the verbal and written misuse of the English language. It does not help that we now have Wikipedia and an Urban Dictionary that are used for ‘appropriate’ references.

    As for your “Now can we all just take a breath and find something to smile about?”, all I could think about was changing it to “…something to make us smile?”

    It is a shame that so many editors fail to follow basic grammar guidelines. I appreciate the personal time and effort you put into everything you write.

    Goodness, I am starting to sound like a grammar snob!

  9. When I first read your blog today, I was horrified. I had a mental picture of you returning my fan mail covered in red correction pencil!
    But then I smiled. You also conjured up a long ago memory of my Creative Writing teacher from seventh grade, a whopping fifty years ago.
    Mrs. MacDougal was a holy terror who not only taught writing but diagramming sentences. She addressed us as her” delightful little morons.”
    She was known to make a student cry just by asking them a question.
    It may not show now but in retrospect, she was one of my all time favorite
    teachers.

    • I do NOT check comments or e-mails for grammar! My favorite fan letter of all time came from a woman who said. “I have read every book you have wrote. I have loved every book you have wrote.” I still treasure that note because it meant that even for someone with limited English skills, my books were still accessible.

  10. Once had a fellow high school English teacher “correct” me when I said “Between you and me.”She stuck her nose in the air and said “Between you and I!” To cut her some slack, I must note that we were already in a fairly heated argument about something I felt demeaned our school.
    Glad the election is over! Bisbee has been a hotbed of unrest and disrespect for the last several months. It will be great to see all the signs come down. Today and tomorrow I will be attending events in the Bisbee Film Festival – looking forward to it!

  11. I have never heard of gerunds before, so I can’t comment on them. If you ever give up writing and go into teaching. I’ll sign up for your first class.
    My biggest complaint about elections is signage. We are currently going through Municipal elections and the signage is atrocious, it is a blight on the landscape. There a should be a law about putting up election signs, like none at all.
    There are other ways to get your unfulfilled promises out.
    John Adams said I have come to a conclusion that one useless man
    is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
    So with that in mind, good luck with your elections.
    Ciao……………..Will

  12. Our elections in Colorado were the worst. You would think that the only business of the senate was about birth control and abortion! Even some in the national media started refering to Mark Udall as ‘Mark Uterus’.

    I hate it when my college educated nieces say “Me and …”

  13. Judy, I so strongly agree on all counts! I know you and I are not exactly politically aligned; however, we can agree to disagree on those points. On the usage of the language…oh, my…you said it and said it so very well! I had some wonderful English teachers in school, and it is amazing to see folks who had those same teachers but apparently did not absorb a lot of what was taught. At any rate, thanks for saying it all so well!

  14. Judy, I so strongly agree on all counts! I know you and I are not exactly politically aligned; however, we can agree to disagree on those points. On the usage of the language…oh, my…you said it so very well! I had some wonderful English teachers in school, and it is amazing to see folks who had those same teachers but apparently did not absorb a lot of what was taught. At any rate, thanks for saying it all so well!

  15. My language skills diminished with computer talk, abbreviations, the lack of written correspondence etc. However, I hope that I still recognize the proper usage.

    My granddaughters are 25-37. The two with college degrees say me and so and so. Drives me nuts. People are ending everything in prepositions! My daughter graduated high school in 1976 and scored fairly well on her exams. My co-worker’s kid, class of 75, went to the rich district near where I worked. Co-worker went to an open house and was infuriated by the poor English language skills of the teachers and some “counselors”. In finding a college for his son, he turned off on Berkeley. It seems their freshman classes being offered included remedial math and English. All of his children have done well for two reasons. They are smart and they write really well.

  16. I fully agree with your “rant”. My personal pet peeve is the use of “presently” when “at present” is appropriate.

    Love your books and can scarcely wait for the next. Thank you for many hours of enjoyment.

  17. I AM ALSO THANKING THAT THE ELECTIONS ARE DONE AN OVER BECZ I TOO WAS SCREAMING AT THE TV. AN I ASKED WHY DO PEOPLE PUT OTHERS LAUNDRY OUT ONLY DURING ELECTION IF THEY HAVE SO MUCH LAUNDRY WHY ELECT THEM INTO OFFICE WHERE THERE SUPPOSE TO BE THER FOR THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE AN NOT THERE WALLET. JUST ASKING?

  18. I scream at periodicals, too. LOL I once had a write up (a very flattering piece) in our local newspaper that explained my pen name was a combination of “she and her husband’s first names.” Like nails on a chalkboard!

  19. In Illinois the campaign ads were played 24/7 and were the extremely hateful. Just tell me what you are going to do to improve the state not how horrible the other person is.

    Tell me why people are using the word ‘on’ for everything. I have heard people say “I will pray on him” when they mean pray for him or “I need help on this ” when they mean help with this. or I am ‘waiting on him’ when they mean waiting for him. Only servers in restaurants actually wait on people. I have at least a dozen different examples that I have collected from a variety of sources; tv news and tv programs and even some of my favorite authors. Why is it that within the last couple of decades the word on is used for every other preposition? Is it because we ‘go on-line’ when we use our computers so people have adopted the word ‘on’ for everything? Or is it an age thing or has it become an accepted use thing like using the word registrate when meaning register????

    Also, my elementary school teacher hammered home the fact that one should never say e.g. My sister, she said or My uncle, he went. It is sufficient to just say-My sister said….My uncle went….

  20. Tell me why “who” has become “that”? For instance, “He was the man that shot the sheriff.” Shouldn’t it be “He was the man who shot the sheriff.” ?????

  21. Mean (fill in the blank) went to the store is one of my favorite sayings I used with my children, and now grandchildren. In my old age, I can’t remembers all the correct terms, such as gerund, but one that annoys me is you instead of your when describing an action. When “you” is used, the emphasis is on oneself; when “your” is used, emphasis is on the action.
    I am seeing more “between you and I” in mysteries. Disturbing, to say the least.
    Write on! Just finished your last book.
    Two more questions: why has “as” replaced “since?”. And, why do we brown up, stir up, etc., in stead of just browning the meat, stirring the sauce, etc.?
    And I’m no grammarian.

  22. Thank you, thank you! News reporters on TV are also bad! Of course, all they’re doing is reading what someone else wrote, but it just drives me nuts! Thank goodness I was taught before they threw diagramming out of school.

  23. I am so totally with you on the grammar subject. It is like fingernails on a blackboard (not a “chalkboard) when mistakes such as these are made. I went to a very small school, but most of us learned at least the essentials. I can’t quote you the rules, but it is ingrained enough in me that it has become instinctive to know which pronouns follow prepositions, etc. Supposedly educated people make these mistakes all of the time, and it lowers their IQ (in MY estimation) by quite a few points when they do that! Thanks for the blog!

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