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Find Glaring Errors

As an editor you can probably find grammar errors in anything you read, yet are errors in grammar coming out of your mouth when you speak?

Sometimes I wonder if grammar and politeness have gone by the wayside when I hear people speak. Where did Americans—even many well-educated Americans—get the idea that it’s fine to say things such as this: “Me and my mother went to the store.” Grammar may seem confusing, but if you took the mother out of the equation would you say “Me went to the store”? Of course not. Not only is the pronoun (Me) wrong, but also in polite society we put others first before we speak of ourselves, so the correct sentence would be this: “My mother and I went to the store.”

I’m reminded of one of my favorite books from my childhood, Ben and Me by Robert Lawson. In the book Benjamin Franklin’s pet mouse, Amos, tells history through his own eyes and takes credit for most of Franklin’s inventions. The title of the book was not Me and Ben, it was Ben and Me, and even if the title were shortened only to Me, it would be perfectly fine because it is not using either Ben or Me as the subject of a sentence. In other words, if the title had been Ben and Me Make History, the use of the pronoun Me would have been incorrect.

Let’s practice getting the “So-and-so and I” thing, okay? Let’s stop saying “Me and my husband love to go to the movies” or “Me and my dog walked around the block” or “Me and my daughter played together at the park.” Practice, practice, practice: “My husband and I love to go to the movies.” “My dog and I walked around the block.” “My daughter and I played together at the park.”

Ahh. Doesn’t that feel better?

Bobbie Christmas

Editor Bobbie Christmas is your book doctor. She can also be your mentor, ghostwriter, copywriter, and writing and publishing consultant. After spending decades writing and editing for a living, Bobbie became a much-sought-after seminar and workshop leader. She began Zebra Communications in 1992 in Atlanta, Georgia, to provide professional editing services to publishers and to writers like you.

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