Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Down-Home Schoolin'

We (not us) southerners have issues with pronouns, in case y'all haven't noticed. Most of us (not we) might have begun that sentence with "Us", but that would have been incorrect. Now I don't claim to be no expert, but I do know a thing or two about grammar. See that double negative? That is perfectly acceptable in southern speech, because it's (not its) a known fact that we (not us) southerners like to emphasize a point, even if it is grammatically incorrect.

Seems to me (not I) that by the time we (not us) get to grammar school, our speech patterns have already taken root. We say things like "me and bubba went fishing" and before we can finish telling y'all how big the fish was, the teacher rudely interrupts and says "bubba and I". What the heck - she wasn't even there! So we go again, and she interrupts again, this time telling us that we should always say "bubba and I" and not never "me and bubba". However, she neglects to tell us that sometimes it is correct to say "me and bubba" or, better yet, "bubba and me". That's probably because she's a southerner herself and takes great pride in having graduated from an institute of higher learning, which must be reflected in her refined speech and does not recognize the use of "bubba and me" as correct even when it is. [end rant]

That's my best guess anyway as to why there is so much confusion over the correct use of pronouns. So I'm going to try to set the record straight (or skrate) once and for all. I will attempt to simplify it without the use of words like "subjective" and "objective" because, frankly, it's not about diagramming sentences. It's about "you" and "me" -which is, by the way, grammatically correct.

I = you, he, she, it, we, they (anything on this line can be substituted for or used with any other and still make sense)

me = you, him, her, it, us, them (same here)

When trying to decide whether to say "bubba and I" or "bubba and me", substitute "we" or "us".

We (bubba and I) went fishing. Mama whupped us (bubba and me) for skipping school. She told us (me and bubba) don't never do that again!

That's all there is to it, folks. Any questions (or kwerstions)?

OK then, moving right along.

Apostrophe's also seem to crop up all over the place where they aren't needed. (Hint: The first one is not needed, but the second one is.) Again, I'll make it simple.

To make it plural, add s; to show possession, add 's. To make a contraction, use ' to replace the dropped letter or letters (not letter's).

F'rinstance, y'all is a contraction of you all, therefore the ' should be placed between y and a.

That's it, y'all.

Do what you will with punctuation.


14 comments:

Krissy said...

You crack me up!!! Most of the dynasty is from the south and I love to hear my Grandma say shrimp- can't spell out how it sounds but it's cute...trust me. My sister is a teacher so I am constantly correted. Hey, I figure as long as you can understand me then we're all good! :)

BooMama said...

Thank you, sweet Lord, for Brenda's post. Bless her as she testifies to your glory through her gentle correction regarding subjective and objective pronouns. Please be with our brothers and sisters who believe that "Bubba and I" is always correct, even when it's objective, because it makes people feel smart to say "Papaw brought all them catfish to Bubba and I," nevermind the fact that they would never, ever say, "Papaw brought all them catfish to I." And help me, Lord, from throwing large objects at the television when participants in reality television programs try to appear intelligent and completely botch their pronoun usage ("What happened on the island is between she and I"). AMEN and AMEN.

Brenda said...

Krissy, you must be related to your mom. Y'all share the same funny bone. Glad I could make you laugh!

BooMama, you're hilarious! I'm sitting here laughing out loud, and hubby thinks I'm laughing at my own post. Silly man.

Diane said...

While we're on the subject, may I add that y'all is a contraction of you all, which means it is plural, therefore, anytime it is used to indicate a single person, IT IS WRONG!! I wouldn't say, Brenda, y'all sure did write a particularly witty post tonight, now would I? Okay, now I'll go back to mindin' my own bidness. Thanks for lettin' me rant,'kay? ;-)

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

Bottom line - I'm afraid to write anything about me, us, I, they, we.....How do you blog without pronouns?

Texas Gal said...

How true and how funny. I reckon we folks should start a speakin like everyone else. Y'all agree!!??? NAY!

Praying for your Prodigal said...

ROFL!!!! My 14 year old is struggling through indirect and direct objects in English--I should print out your brilliant post and send it to his teacher!

LOVED it! YOU ROCK!

Diane

Sister said...

Brenda,
Many, many thanks for this post! Both BooMama and I have been known to fling imaginary objects at the television in response to the (repeated) incorrect use of "(insert name) and I".
Now, when are you going to address the difference between "gone and went"? :)

Barb said...

Whoa Sister...that was risky, "Both Boomama and I" -- are you absolutely sure that's correct pronoun usage? I'm with Bev. I'm skeered. Oh well. I'll just post away. Long as y'all all know what I'm a'tryin' to say, I'm good.
xoxoxo

Brenda said...

Seriously, Bev, Barb, and our other bloggy friends - y'all have nothing to worry about. I'm only peevish about it in the same instances that BooMama mentioned in her post - did you see it? I got top billing!

You know, people whose job it is to address the public should have a command of the English language. That's all I'm saying.

Blog on, sisters!
xoxoxo

Sissy said...

Hey, way down here in Florida ya'll stands for yaaaa ll. ya'll didn't know that?

Barb said...

Loved it the first time around and I'm loving it again. This is timely. There's been a lot of talk lately about correct pronoun usage and the even more dreaded subject of *gasp* correct punctuation.

Cracked me up the first time, cracks me up this time and you're not even home. How do you do that?

:-)

BooMama said...

okay. i'll try again (blogger was unable to "complete my request" a second ago) -

ahem.

i was just saying that i loved this post the first time, and i loved it this time, too, and that it belongs in some sort of bloggy hall of fame, which oh, by the way, gives me an idea.

that was all. :-)

Lori, A loyal wife and momma to many. said...

Too funny!! I enjoy your blog and this post. Thanks for sharing.