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The Grammar Nazi In Me Strikes Again

August 8, 2014
Posted at 11:02 am

Ah me. Or should that be I?

So there I am, reading happily along, really enjoying a story and THIS pops up, or something like it, and not for the first time (redactions to preserve a very good writer's reputation):

"Don't you remember? After [competition redacted] you guys elected [name redacted] and I [sport redacted] team captains."

Let me put it simply, which sounds right to you?

You elected I to be captain.

You elected me to be captain.

In normal conversation, anyone raised speaking American English would not use "I" in that sentence unless they consciously think "hey, I'd better not sound stupid here" and plops in the wrong word.

In my experience, the ONLY time people actually TALK like that is when they are self-consciously trying to sound grammatically sophisticated, immediately proving, of course, they aren't.

To be pedantic, the pronoun in question is the object of the sentence, not the subject, so it should be the objective case (me) instead of the subjective case (I). The fact that another person and a conjunction intrude doesn't change that, even if Rumplestiltskin is the other captain.

You elected Rumplestiltskin and me to be captains.

And if this problem crops up once in a story it is almost certain to crop up again ... and again ... and again.

And it did. <<shudder>>

Oh, and just to uphold my reputation as an insufferable perfectionist, this story was also riddled with errors like "their" when it should have been "there" or "they're" or "your" instead of "you're" and a host of other such errors -- "and" when it should have been "as," "than" instead of "then" -- the kinds of things spell checkers can't catch, which indicates to me lazy proofreading, if it was proofread at all.

I suspect this was one of this author's early efforts.

The only thing that saves the story -- and it is a very long story -- is a good plot and sympathetic and interesting characters. Otherwise I never would have gotten beyond the first chapter.

I also realize that by posting this I'm opening myself up to anyone who finds a mistake in anything of mine (and believe me, I'm sure they're there, but nobody's caught them yet). If you do go ahead and hit me with it! I'll thank you and go back and fix it

Because I care.