Minding I’s, me’s on Grammar Day
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!
Don’t forget to celebrate National Grammar Day on Saturday.
This revered holiday has been around since 2008, but many of us like to celebrate it much more often than once a year. I feel exactly the same way about National Chocolate Eclair Day (June 22) and National Cook a Sweet Potato Day (Feb. 22).
LET’S MOVE THIS ALONG
A long, long time ago, when people regularly listened to things called albums on devices called turntables, they would hear a few seconds of only the scratch of the needle on the vinyl, which meant one song had ended and the next one was beginning.
English speakers, instead, use transitional words and phrases as they move from one thought to the next. These words and phrases help the listener or reader understand how the points are connected.
Transitions can signal different things. And many, many choices are available to us.
■ Transitions can add to the same thought: also, again, likewise, moreover.
■ They can connect cause and effect: so, thus, therefore, consequently.
■ They can compare two thoughts: but, still, similarly, rather.
■ They can emphasize a detail: above all, primarily.
■ They can illustrate a point: specifically, namely, for example.
Where would we be without transitions?
At times, people use extra long transitions. Perhaps they are creating a dramatic delay for their listeners. But many of these long phrases can be trimmed to a word or two:
That being said (still)
Be that as it may (but) With this in mind (so, therefore)
At any rate (still)
While it may be true (though)
On the other hand (still, but) For the time being (for now)
THE MISUNDERSTOOD ‘MYSELF’
I have written before about the misuse of “I” when “me” should be used.
Wrong: Just between you and I, Angelica had a nose job.
Right: Just between you and me, Angelica had a nose job.
People similarly misuse “myself.” This word is not a fancy replacement for “me,” but people seem to think it is.
Wrong: If you have questions about the dress policy, contact Calvin, Eileen or myself.
Right: If you have questions about the dress policy, contact Calvin, Eileen or me.
Use “myself” when you have done something to yourself.
Sometimes when I bake all day long, I manage to burn myself.
“Myself” can also be used to emphasize the “I” or “me” in the sentence. I’m not convinced that it’s needed all the time, but it does add just a shade of difference.
I myself believe the alibi. Sherlock does not.
I made the tomato sauce myself. I didn’t use something from a jar.
But “myself” is not to be used as a substitute for “me.”
Sources: Study Guides and Strategies, Oxford Dictionaries