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Then there are the people who stand before a group, dressed to the nines with everything perfectly coordinated, and, in their best bad grammar, announce ...

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

Grammar Patrol: Get over yourself!

There was a song a while back, “Me, Myself, and I,” and I can’t remember the lyrics. In fact, there were only two more words that I remember hearing when it was sung, and that term, sung, is using the word much too liberally. I wouldn’t call it singing, even if that were the last word left in the dictionary.

“Primer” books, what folks called those first books introduced to kids in school, had a small vocabulary. They were to reading as “pureed " was to baby food, easy to manage. No pronouns could be found anywhere. Every story in the reader was made up of nouns and verbs with no lumps, or hard spots, to be found. When I was a kid, the entire book was Sally, Spot, Puff, Dick, and Jane. Those five nouns depended on a handful of verbs to tell their stories: See, jump, run, come, look, and a few other activities that a bunch of nouns could master in 15 or so pages.

Fast forward, and those little ones were challenged with other activities. Sentences got longer as more words were introduced. In came conjunctions, pronouns, adverbs, interjections, adjectives, and adverbs… and that’s when things started to get complicated.

Well, you’d think that as words were added, ability kept up, and the once-kiddie kids advanced along with their vocabulary. Not! They, many of them, lagged behind. They grew weary. They looked at those passing by and said, “Go’on without me.”

Of course, words kept coming, words that they longed to use, but because they had given in to laziness, they hadn’t kept up. Still they longed to be like those who had persevered and were able to use those words. So, as others marched past with a growing vocabulary, they reached up to snag a word or two that looked interesting and sounded good. “If I use this word, I’ll sound sophisticated,” they reasoned.

One of those popular words was the reflexive pronoun. “Boy!” the slothful grab-it-cause-it-sounds-uppity fellow said to itself. “I really like the sound of ‘myself!’ It makes me seem important. It gets me noticed. I can sound intelligent with absolutely no work at all!

So that’s how reflexives got in the hands of folks who had not a clue about using them. They sounded good, so they grabbed them. They believed that adding self to a word would serve as a camouflage, would make folks think they were “all that!”

So, once the “wannabes” got their hands – or mouths – on reflexive pronouns, language took a fall. No sentence was acceptable without “myself” added: Give it to Darrell or myself… Michael or myself will call you… ALL of which are as wrong as two left shoes!

The word reflexive means “back to itself.” It is, therefore, “next door to inane” to ask someone else to give something back to yourself! It is impossible since you and the other are not the SAME person!

Then there are the people who stand before a group, dressed to the nines with everything perfectly coordinated, and, in their best bad grammar, announce, “On behalf of my family and myself…”

Don’t you know that YOU do something YOURSELF, but you can ONLY do something ON BEHALF OF SOMEBODY ELSE? That’s like walking into a room and announcing, “I’m representing MYSELF!” DUH!

Remember: The minute you open your mouth, there is no confusion. Everybody but an idiot knows you are you! Only a roomful of idiots would not know that the self in front of them… is YOURS!

Story Posted:12/02/2017

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