Thirteen years of Catholic schools may not have done all my parents hoped, but they sure did turn me into a Grammar Queen. No, there weren’t any Grammar Kings in my school. The boys didn’t catch up until later when, in real life, they earned more money doing the same jobs we did. But I digress. I love grammar.
My kids will attest to the fact that every time they said, “Matt and me are going to the store,” I would respond, “Matt and I.” And then I would explain that one wouldn’t say “Me… am going to the store.” At best, they would revise this to “Me and Matt are going to the store,” and ignored my oft-repeated correction until it became a joke.
It’s not funny at all when I hear grownups say, “They gave it to Julie and I.” I resist saying, “Julie and ME. You wouldn’t say, ‘They gave it to I.’” I resist it because I value friendships and I don’t think many people appreciate jerks tinkering with their English (even when we’re grammatically correct).
Mary Norris, a New Yorker writer and copy editor, is a true Comma Queen and author of several books and articles on grammar, including Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen.
This April 2 piece in the New Yorker about a copy editor’s convention in New York is terrific, including the sentence: “You could feel the excitement in the room when a slide appeared with the heading “HYPHENS!”
I can’t say I’m grateful for 13 years of Catholic School, though good things—lifelong friends, as well as excellent grammar and an aversion to plaid—remain. In what must surely be some sort of Cosmic Catholic joke, the view out our picture window includes five crosses, two Catholic schools and a church. Somewhere in heaven, my parents are smiling.
Photo by Ashton Mullins via Unsplash