My Personal Pronouns and Me, erm…and I…?

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I love personal pronouns. I use them everyday in speech and writing. So do you. We all do, in fact. Even when we are not consciously aware of it. In fact, personal pronouns comprise 17% of the words in this paragraph.

I present them here in the order they appeared in the paragraph above: I, I, them, you, we, we, and it.

They are lovable little critters minding their own business as we go about ours communicating verbally and via text. One problem. We often wield them awkwardly, causing confusion in the process. Consider two common examples:

1. “The Christmas gift meant so much to the wife and I.” See the problem with this? Actually I see two problems, one of which pertains to personal pronouns. The correct syntax substitutes me for I. The word I is first person; the word me is third person. So, why do people use the former in place of the latter? Lazy speech transmitted to writing. We tend to write in the way we talk, and too frequently, we do not think about correct grammar in the course of our daily conversations. I mentioned there is a second problem, too. A husband’s wife is not inanimate property. There is no need to refer to her as “the wife.” The phrase “my wife” suffices.

2. “Me and my friend went to the store.” See the problem with this? The correct syntax reads, “My friend and I went to the store.” Me is third person singular; I is first person singular. Me is the object; I is the subject.

For more information on the use of personal pronouns, consult a current English grammar. It’s a small, but important matter which communicates competence or its lack in your communications.

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