Friday, April 08, 2005

Me, Myself and I

Over the last few years I have noticed that the verbal use of the word "myself" has evolved into something that is slowly driving me crazy. I do not claim to be an expert in grammar but this one is a peeve I just can't ignore. I have heard this incorrect usage spill from the lips of Americans in all spectrums of society (educators, sports figures, journalists, politicians, movie stars, students....etc). I don't watch enough international television to notice whether it is worldwide or not, so for now I am limiting my peeve to Americans.

I think it stems from the fear of when to use "me" and "I" correctly. This is something that is drilled into all of us at a very early age. Regardless of the trama, substituting "myself" does not correct this or ease this confusion. It is becoming so commonplace that I expect that Webster's will adopt this new use and there will be no going back. Therefore, I am announcing my issues with it, so I can say I made an effort.

Okay, so here it is. You can say "She bought the cake for my wife and me." You can not say "She bought the cake for my wife and myself." It just doesn't work that way, because if you were to take the wife out of the sentence (the true test if something is grammatically correct), it would be "She bought the cake for myself" and that just doesn't make sense. You can also say "Jack and I were married yesterday." You can not say "Jack and myself were married yesterday". I don't tend to hear the use of "myself" substituted for "I" as often as for "me" but it does happen on occasion.

Now that I have mentioned it, all of you will hear it all the time and it will drive you crazy too....so you can thank me later...ha ha. Great, I feel better now, getting that off my chest. Please remember that I am not an expert, and I am sure there are 47 other grammatical errors in this little blurb that someone could point out. I just had to get my particular peeve out in the open (and now that I have, let us hope that I don't ever use "me, myself, and I" incorrectly or I will have hell to pay).

(Just a little side note, MS Word has all my little "myself"s underlined with squiggling green lines...I guess it doesn't like it either....)

4 comments:

Cindy-Lou said...

I have a very bad habit of correcting people. I've been yelled at for it, too. Does that stop me? Noooooo......

Mishka said...

I tend to cringe when I hear it but don't tend to correct anyone because I am afraid of making them mad...weeny of me I know. Usually though, I hear it on television or the radio...

Joanne said...

Seeing as how I'm friends with both Matty P and Michelle (both of whom are peeved) AND my father was an editor for awhile, I'm surrounded by grammar freaks. I'm used to all sorts of abuses of grammar and cringe regularly. Of course they also correct me on a fairly regular basis. :)

cat said...

i haven't heard that particular mushing of the english language here in montreal..yet. we canadians do know how to talk good, you know. :)

and thanks for the post on my blog about how my pre-wedding stress will just be pre-wedding stress. :) already tonight i have a message on our voice mail from my future mother-in-law who has "questions about some of the invitations that went out" and i am pretty sure i know what she's going to complain about... sigh... i'm letting my man handle this one. ha!