Him and Me and You and Her
Quick grammar lesson from The Word Doctor. Wait - don't go away, it'll be fun!
There's a common subject/object error I hear every single day. It seems to be more of a verbal thing than written, and something that can lead to judgment about the quality of the speaker's education or intelligence. (Yes, I know judgment is usually a bad thing, however in professional circumstances you still need to be professionally correct.)
"Steve and me had a meeting." Wrong! Here's why. Go back to your elementary school English class for a minute. Steve is the subject of the sentence. The word "me" holds the place of a subject, but the word "me" is never, ever a subject word - only an object.
Here's how to test it. Take away the "me" and see what you're left with. "Steve had a meeting." Cool! Replace "Steve" with "me" - "Me had a meeting." Not so much! So, that test teaches you that the sentence should be "Steve and I had a meeting." When you take either subject away, it still makes sense.
The opposite error is made just as often...subjects in the place of objects. "My parents came to visit John and I." Use that test again. "My parents came to visit John." Great! "My parents came to visit I." Again, not so much!
Now, if you're chatting with a friend and make one of these common errors, it's not all that important (except I'll cringe if I hear it). But if you're writing a report, or speaking with a colleague, or asking for a job, you will likely sound uneducated. Sounds harsh, but it's true.
Practice noticing your speech and train yourself to avoid these common errors, and you won't need to be concerned about it in a professional setting!
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