Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two everyday grammar screw ups

And God said: "Whoever utters the name of the Lord must be put to death. The whole community must stone him, whether alien or native. If he utters the name, he must be put to death."
-Leviticus 24:16 from the Bible

And the atheist said: "Creationists make it sound like a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night."
-Isaac Asimov


The following are two grammatical errors people make every single day. Simple mistakes that require simple fixes.

1) Go J Lin!

What's wrong with the emboldened? It's missing a comma between "Go" and "J Lin!"

Rule: Every single time you call out someone or something directly, you must put a comma before the addressee, no exceptions.

Incorrect: Hey Steven. 
Correct: Hey, Steven. 

Incorrect: What's good homie? 
Correct: What's good, homie?

That doesn't mean, however, that any time you're writing someone's name, you use a comma. Consider the following examples:

Correct: His wife's name is Brenda.
Correct: To Jamie: ...
Correct: Dear Brian: ...

2) The "you and I" fallacy.

Consider the following:
He's taking you and I out tomorrow.

"I" is not correct in this sentence. It should be "you and me." But why is this? Throughout our schooling, teachers always told us that it's "you and I," or "Tim and I," or "them and I," etc. THEY WERE WRONG. Sometimes it is "you and I," sometimes it's not. Knowing when to use which requires being able to recognize the difference between subjects and objects, but that's boring to most people so I won't actually go there. Instead I'll show you a great shortcut that works every time, so you know when to use which.

The shortcut works like this. Remove both pronouns from the sentence, one at a time, and say the new sentence aloud. This will invariably lead you to the correct pronoun.

He's taking you and I out tomorrow.

"You" in this sentence checks out, so that's fine. Now we go to "I": 

He's taking you and I out tomorrow.

Now you see the problem? You know instinctively "He's taking I out" doesn't make any sense; that it should me "He's taking me out." Thus, you know "me" is the proper pronoun to use in the sentence, "He's taking you and me out tomorrow."

Another example:
Him and I are going to the movies.
>Him is going to the movies.
>I am going to the movies.

"Him" is obviously wrong. It should be "He is going to the movies." Meanwhile, "I" is correct. So the new sentence will read like this:

He and I are going to the movies.

Last example:
She will pick her and I up.
>She will pick her up.
>She will pick I up.

"Her" is okay, but "I" isn't. It should be "me," and the sentence should read:

She will pick her and me up.

Don't sleep on proper grammar usage. If you don't know the rules to the game, how do you expect to kill it?

Grammar Nazi OUT!

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