Old dropout makes a case for grammar

BY GENE OWENS Published: April 6, 2010
An "old 1943 high-school dropout” dropped by the grease pit at Curly’s Soonerco to buy a case of soda and to ask Buck to say a word about the proper cases of pronouns.

"Our preacher is frequently asking us to ‘pray for he and his family’ or ‘pray for my friend and I,’” the old dropout said. "Would he say, ‘Please pray for I,’ or ‘Please pray for he’?”

Of course he wouldn’t. He just lets that compound object confuse his cases.

Buck figures teachers used to emphasize that polite folks shouldn’t say "Me and Floyd went fishing.” They should say "Floyd and I went fishing.” Putting Floyd first is just being polite. Using "I” instead of "me” is just being grammatical.

But lots of people got the idea that "me” is an ugly word that should never be paired with a proper name. It isn’t. It’s perfectly grammatical as the object of a verb or preposition, which is what the objective case is designed for.

Nominative pronouns, such as "I,” "we,” "he,” "she” "they” and "who,” are used as subjects.