The Compulsive Copyeditor

March 30, 2015

You and Me Against the World

Filed under: grammar,language degenerating — amba12 @ 10:53 am

Great song, especially as sung by Freddy Cole.* Lousy grammar. But so is this, from a new science article:

Germline alterations are therefore permanent, as opposed to changes made to “somatic” cells—the cells in you and I that are generated after conception and are not passed on to our children.

And this, from a wedding invitation:

It’s so heartening to think that you could be joining George and I for our wedding on the 4th of July.

I don’t know what has caused the plague of this — a dislike of the word “me” perhaps (me, me, me! it’s all about me!) — but a plague it is. The rule to know when to say “you and I” and when to say “George and me” is simple. A pair of pronouns are both operated on identically by the verb preceding them. So the science writer above is saying “the cells in I,” and the blushing bride-to-be is saying (if we can bear to separate her from her intended for a moment), “you could be joining I for [my] wedding.” None of us would ever intentionally say that. Don’t tell me that “you and I” is becoming a fused grammatical unit that overrides the fact that the dative and accusative of “I” (that is, when it is an indirect object — “give I a call tomorrow” — or a direct object — “call I tomorrow”) is … you got it …



*click the > sample arrow for a taste. You may want to buy the song! I was driving around Chapel Hill a few years after J’s death when I heard it on the radio. It stopped me in my tracks.

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