Sunday, February 20, 2011


My apologies in advance, but the Mr. Grammar Person inside me is going on a rant today. He just can’t take it any more.

It would make him feel sooooo good if people, many of whom should know better, would quit misusing the word “I.” Not just using it, as in the old days when columnists would go to awkward phrasing to avoid using the vertical pronoun, but misusing it, such as in phrases like “between you and I” or “it’s up to you and I.”


It just grates on my copy editing background to hear that from just about anybody, but especially from a radio or television commentator. Sometimes, not often though, I even have seen it in print. I also have heard it said in newsrooms where I have worked.

Hey, people!

The correct phrases are “between you and me” and “it’s up to you and me.” The words “you and me” are both the object of the prepositions “between” and “to” and require objective case. It’s really not that complicated.

On the other hand, it’s also a pet peeve of Mr. Grammar Person for so-called well-educated folks to misuse the objective case for who, using “whom”  instead as in phrasing like this: The game will be won by whomever wants it most.

Nope. Not whomever.

Whomever is not the object of the preposition “to.” The object of the preposition here is the entire phrase, “whomever wants it most.” Therefore, instead of whomever being a object here, it actually is the subject of the phrase and “whoever wants it most” is correct.

The funny thing is, I suspect many people, including one local sports columnist in South Florida, think they are being so proper and correct when they use “whom.” I used to work for a city editor who used it incorrectly all the time.

Now, I realize this is probably not a big thing with most people. If you say “between you and I” or “to whomever wants it most”, you may be incorrect grammatically, but nobody is going to misunderstand you.

I’ll accept that.

But I hold people in the media to higher standards. They should know better and be using proper language.

Mr. Grammar Person now gets off his soap box.

Or whatever.

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