Grammar mistakes people often make

Adam   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 11:44 GMT
when you use words incorrectly, you sound as funny as someone wearing underwear for a hat looks.
Me, myself, and I

"It's Adam and I, not Adam and me." How many times have you heard that?
The thing is, sometimes "Adam and me" is correct. It depends on whether you are the subject or object of the sentence.
If you're asking yourself, Hmmm, is it "Adam and I went to the store," or "Adam and me went to the store," just try thinking of the problem without Adam. You wouldn't say "Me went to the store," would you? So "Adam and I" it is. Nor would you say "Lucy gave I the ball." Which is why "Lucy gave Adam and me the ball" is correct.
By the way, when you want to get fancy and use the word myself, use it only for emphasis. It's not a substitute for me. "I love grammar, myself," you might say, when discussing language with your friends. But don't say, "Give myself a potato chip, please." Or "Talk to myself about your problems.")
Avoid "X-rated" expressions

They're not actually X-rated, but if you think about them that way you can remember that there is no x in etcetera. Nor is there one in espresso.
Etcetera is Latin. It means "and the rest." Espresso is Italian, and it describes how coffee is "pressed out." It doesn't have anything to do with speed and therefore is not related to the word express. Although it can certainly speed you up if you drink it.
Be effective, not affected

Affect is a verb. Look at the a in affect and think "action." The movie affected her greatly.
Effect is a verb or a noun. It's most commonly used as a noun. The movie had an effect on her.
As a verb, effect means to bring something about, especially a change : They effected their escape through a rear window.
But there's no difference between saying that and saying "They escaped through a rear window," so you should always think twice before using effect as a verb.

Julian   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 23:01 GMT
A grammar error that annoys me to no end is "Between you and I." I hear this mistake way too often on US sitcoms. Once I heard a sitcom character say "Between you and me," only to be "corrected" by an uppity character, "Between you and *I*.'" I yelled at the television, "NO IT ISN'T YOU FRIGGIN' MORON!!!"

Where do they find these sitcom writers anyway???
zambi   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 23:32 GMT
I think those writers left school at grade four. That's only normal if their English is poor.
Dorian   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 23:35 GMT
So if someone knock at your door and you ask 'who is it ?', they should answer 'that's I' and not 'that's me'.
sam   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 23:56 GMT
I sometimes heard : my mother and "me" went to the mall. Do natives use me instead of I in this case ? It seems to be a grammatical mistake.
Julian   Thursday, July 10, 2003, 07:09 GMT
>>>I sometimes heard : my mother and "me" went to the mall. Do natives use me instead of I in this case ? It seems to be a grammatical mistake. <<<

It is a grammatical error that many native speakers (US) make. It should be, "My mother and *I* went to the mall. My cousin, Brenda, went with my mother and *me*."

>>>So if someone knock at your door and you ask 'who is it ?', they should answer 'that's I' and not 'that's me'. <<<

Technically speaking, they should answer "It is I." But that sounds way too stuffy and comical. So we casually (and incorrectly) say "it's me." To avoid this mess, just answer, "It's Dorian."
well...   Thursday, July 10, 2003, 19:26 GMT
Use I/we/he/she for the subject, or use me/us/him/her for the object.
Who is there?
--I am (subject-verb)
--It is me (subject-verb-object)
--we are (subject-verb)
--It is us (subject-verb-object)

Who did that?
--He did
--It was him

Isn't that right?
Julian   Thursday, July 10, 2003, 23:22 GMT
Here's a link that explains the "it is I" vs "it is me" controversy:

Now, here's a little poem that sums it all up:

It Is I

I just don’t know the reason why
The proper phrase is “It is I,”
And why the experts all agree
That’s more correct than “It is me.”
I’ve really tried to understand
The logic in their reprimand.
I break the sentence down in parts:
The subject “It” is how it starts.
“Is” is the verb within the text;
An object is what’s needed next.
I’ve learned that “I” can only be
The subject of a sentence. “Me”
Is what should be required here,
If to these rules we still adhere.
And yet the experts all contend
That “I” is how the phrase must end.
When someone asks, “Who’s that?” you say,
“Well, that is me,” and that’s okay.
You’d think that changing “that” to “it”
Would only change a little bit;
And yet, for reasons unexplained,
The “is” is all that is retained.
Although I’ve tried, I just can’t see
Why “It is I”, not “It is me.”

(c) 1999 Dave Roddick
Well...   Friday, July 11, 2003, 00:42 GMT
If Shakespeare and 99.9% of English-speakers say "It is me", and even French changed the Latin rule to "It is me" then that's good enough for ME.
And I like that poem! :D
Jim   Monday, July 14, 2003, 03:54 GMT
Nice poem. It's like the "He is taller than me." verses "He is taller than I." debate. Whilst the experts all agree that the latter is correct it sounds "stuffy and comical" too. Perhaps it's best to keep everyone happy and stick to "He is taller than I am."

One little-advertised "common grammatical error" (inverted commas to question the very idea that there could exist such a thing) is the ... well, they've got a name for it but I've forgotten what it is but here's an example.

Sentences like "I don't like you shouting." are what are commonly heard whereas "I don't like your shouting." is what should be said.

The object of my dissapproval is the shouting. Whose shouting is it? It's yours.

The word "shouting" here is a gerund and the direct object of the sentence what sense does it make to have two nouns one after the other? What you need before the noun is an adjective.
Jack Doolan   Wednesday, July 16, 2003, 04:02 GMT

Possibly the worst English in the world does not have many grammatical errors. To see some of it, go to the US Patent Office site and read the claims of recent patent specifications. Here's a recent claim from a pharmaceutical specification. It contains a few minor errors of grammar, mostly words missing, but the sins against the language are worse than that. Note the lack of agreement in number (ester instead of esters) and the pointless repetition. The drafter of this rubbish never heard the words "it" or "them", it seems.

A method for producing a solid oral dosage form comprising:

heating a sterol, stanol or their corresponding acid ester at a temperature from about 45 to about 100 degrees C to provide the sterol, stanol or their corresponding acid ester in a molten form;

providing a monofunctional surfactant and a polyfunctional surfactant, wherein the polyfunctional surfactant is a polyoxyethylene derivative of the monofunctional surfactant;

admixing the molten sterol, stanol or their corresponding acid ester and the monofunctional surfactant and the polyfunctional surfactant to form a sterol, stanol or their corresponding acid ester-surfactant mixture;

providing a support with a surface area of from about 100 to about 350 square meters per gram;

adding a sufficient amount of the support to the molten sterol, stanol or their corresponding acid ester-surfactant mixture to form a flowable powder;

and optionally compressing the flowable powder to form a tablet.
Antonio   Wednesday, July 16, 2003, 20:26 GMT

I would say ´He is taller than I am´ and ´He is taller than me´

We should not speak as we write, or write as we speak. ;)
Jim   Wednesday, July 16, 2003, 23:38 GMT
Should we not speak as we write nor write as we speak?
John   Tuesday, July 22, 2003, 12:52 GMT
I disagree with the article saying that you can substitute myself for me for emphasis. It quite annoys me when people use it like that, because I believe it is completely wrong. 'Myself' is only used when you are stating that you are doing something on your own, without others, for example, "I would like to do it myself." You can't just substitute it for me, for example, "He made the comments to both myself and Alan."
mjd   Tuesday, July 22, 2003, 18:33 GMT
A sentence like "John and me went to the store" sounds bad, but in informal settings you will often hear people say something like "Me and John are going to the bar." While the 'me' is always incorrect in such a sentence, when it's placed in the beginning of the sentence, it doesn't sound as weird to me because of its common colloquial usage.

Outside of one's circle of friends, peers, etc., I would not recommend speaking that way. However, I do confess that I am sometimes guilty of the "Me and so and so...." sentence when speaking with my friends.