Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dear Everyone Who's Ever Been on a Reality TV Show:

I applaud your desire to want to sound intelligent in front of the cameras, and your ability to remember at least a fraction of what your seventh grade English teacher taught, but let's be clear on this: using "and I" every single time you refer to yourself and another person only makes you sound stupid. You see, it's not correct in every single case. Yes! I know! Surprising, isn't it? Here's the thing: when your junior high English teacher (poor soul) was trying to combat your attraction to the phrase "John and me" or "You and me" she was specifically referring to the occasions when you erroneously used the phrase as the subject of a sentence. As in: "You and I are the best-looking people in this room" vs. "You and me are the best-looking people in this room." See how that works?

But, you see, she never meant for you to translate this to mean every "and me" phrase is wrong. For instance, "My mother made dinner for Jane and me." Yes, that's right! It's not "My mother made dinner for Jane and I" or "Nobody wanted to go out drinking with Bobby and I." It's me - "Bobby and me." Why? Because in those cases, "me" is the object of the preposition "with" or "for." Just like "Between you and me" is correct, and "Between you and I" is D-level English.

Is this too complicated? I know, subjects, objects, prepositions, blah blah blah. Here's a simple tool to guide you: take out the other person and the "and." What would you say, "I" or "me"? "The car came screeching around the corner, heading for Randy and I." Now let's try without Randy. "The car came screeching around the corner, heading for I." ???? Of course not, it's "heading for me," so it's "Randy and me." See how easy that was?

Oh, and while we're at it - there's no such word as "I's." You'll probably realize that when you stop with the "and I" stuff, but when you say, "Mark came over to Steven and I's house" you're just making ears across America bleed.


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