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« Revisiting Jane Siberrys No Borders Here | Main | Just Creepy But If Id Done This Id Cherish It Forever »


mike shupp

22 of 22, just because I _am_ a knowitall. I gotta admit however, the THAT-WHICH distinction is not one that anyone makes easily, and it can't be said that it's a very useful distinction. My bet is by century's end the two words will be used interchangeably, and the grammarians will come to accept.

Language changes afterall. Somwtimes it goes in circles. You've pprobably come across sentences such as "Everyone should put on their coat." Which modern day school teachers hate, because fifty years ago students were taught that "Everyone should put on HIS coat" was correct English. And than feminism came along and it became politically correct to say "Everyone should put on his or her coat," And then there was a stretch in which we'd say "his coat" and Monday and Wedenesday and Friday, and "her coat" on Tuesday and Thursday and Saturday, and on Sunday we'd be drunk and avoid the issue entirely.... Turns out "Everyone should put on their coat" was perfectly acceptable Engllish around 1700 and likely it will be again aaround 2100.

Don't think too much about it, IOW.

Tim Worstall

18 out of 22. And I make most of my living through writing. Thank God for subeditors, eh?

That/which and a stupid mistake being my four wrong.

David Tufte

I did this a while ago, so I can't remember all the ones I got wrong, but all the that/which ones were half of them.

My mother and me have argued for the last 35 years about the usage I was taught in upstate New York in the 1970's. She insists my usage of I and me is incorrect. I am deferring to her in the writing of the first sentence of this paragraph, but I was (repeatedly) taught that it should be "My mother and I have ...". Some people say my way is what you should do in the subject of a sentence. Some people say that if you could use "we" you should use "me", which is how it is written here.

mike shupp

Uh, no, apologies to your Mom, but she isn't right. Reconsider your sentence with a simpler subject: "My mother has argued ..." and "Me has argued ..."

Does the second example look or sound right to you? Probably not. "I have argued ..." is the way to go, and thus "My mother and I have argued..." is also the way to go.

Trust your instincts! We don't look into grammar texts when we talk with one another, not often anyhow. Mostly we use the language and syntax that we learned as children. It's there in your guts.

David Tufte

Well ... thanks for the moral support. I've tried to tell her that language evolves and that was the way I was taught ... but she hasn't backed down on this one. It's probably our longest running bicker.

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