Sunday, July 05, 2009

Me, Myself and I

Over the last few years I have noticed that the verbal (and now written) 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. Now I am starting to see it in written word as well and that is very scary...

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 again, 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 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 again (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).


Four Years Ago on In My Words...Me, Myself, and I


Haha said...

My grammer peeve is using contractions in every instance. I know it is easier to write as we speak most of the time, but how about if we reverse that and speak as we should write. A person sounds so much more intelligent when they use less contractions in there speech.

sourpuss said...

Oh, I am so glad I'm not the only one peeved about this. It drives me nuts when people use "myself" in the ways you mention. Not enough attention is paid to proper usage of the English language any more and I fear it's only going to deteriorate into something completely unrecognizeable by the time I'm old & gray.

Joanne said...

I totally agree and I will see you a myself and raise you excessive use of literally and could care less. Goodness they are starting to be like nails on a chalkboard to me.