Quiz

My husband likes football more than I.
My husband likes football more than me.

Assuming that both of the sentences above are grammatically correct, what do they mean?

ANSWER

Source:
Choosing between pronouns such as I and me

AND SEE:

‘The sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and me’

for Victor and I
for Victor and me

Which one should you use?

Answer: for Victor and me

Here’s how to convince yourself that “for Victor and me” is right:

a sweater for me
a sweater for I
Which one sounds right?

a sweater for him
a sweater for he
Which one sounds right?

a sweater for her
a sweater for she
Which one sounds right?

sweaters for us
sweaters for we
Which one sounds right?

sweaters for them
sweaters for they
Which one sounds right?

It doesn’t change when you add “Victor”!

a sweater for me
a sweater for Victor and me

If you are a native speaker, the “object pronoun” (see the chart below) sounds right when you have just one OBJECT OF THE PREPOSITION. For some reason, though, the object pronoun stops sounding right to a lot of people when they add a second object of the preposition:

a sweater for Victor and _______ ??

Grammatically, nothing has changed; the preposition still takes an object pronoun!

A SWEATER FOR VICTOR AND ME
and
SWEATERS FOR HIM AND ME (not “sweaters for he and I”)

Here’s the test. Cross out the other object (or objects) and ask yourself which form of the pronoun sounds right.

Mom knitted a sweater for Victor and I.
Without “Victor” in the sentence, “I” is clearly wrong. So use “me.”

If you’re still feeling doubt, run the same test in reverse:
Mom knitted a sweater for Victor and me.
Without “Victor” in the sentence, “me” is clearly right. So use me!

More t/k.

AND SEE:
A question most students missed
Langan on pronouns
My husband likes football more than I/me.
HANDOUT: Pronoun case guidelines from Tidewater Community College (pdf file) – very short and clear
HANDOUT: Diana Hacker on Choosing between pronouns such as I and me (pdf file)

Langan on pronouns

In another post (t/k) I will explain why ‘me’ is the correct pronoun in “The sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and me are too small.” But first, by way of introduction, here is what John Langan has to say about pronouns in general.

From Chapter 29 : Pronoun Agreement and Reference (p. 513):

Nouns name persons, places, or things. Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns. In fact, the word pronoun means “for a noun.” Pronouns are shortcuts that keep you from unnecessarily repeating words in writing. Here are some examples of pronouns:

Eddie left his camera on the bus.
(His is a pronoun that takes the place of Eddie’s.)
Elena drank the coffee even though it was cold.
(It replaces coffee.)
As I turned the newspaper’s damp pages, they disintegrated in my hands.
(They is a pronoun that takes the place of pages.) [color & emphasis added by CJ]

4 common types of pronouns – Chapter 30: Pronoun Types (p. 518):

demonstrative pronouns: pronouns that point to or single out a person or thing. The four demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these, and those.

object pronouns: pronouns that function as the objects of verbs or prepositions. Example: Tony helped me.

possessive pronouns: pronouns that show ownership or possession. Example: The keys are mine.

subject pronouns: pronouns that function as the subjects of verbs. Example: He is wearing an artificial arm.

AND SEE:
Langan on pronouns
the sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and me
“My husband likes football more than I/me.”
Pronoun case guidelines from Tidewater CC (very short and clear)
Diana Hacker on Choosing between pronouns such as I and me

A question most students missed

In class on Wednesday, just about everyone missed the first question in Activity 1, p. 518 (College Writing Skills with Readings 8th Edition by John Langan):

The sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and (I, me) are too small.

The correct answer is me! The sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and me are too small.

Not: The sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and I are too small. I explain why in another post (t/k).

Given how few people seem to know this rule these days, I have to assume it’s in the process of dying. If so, then at some point “the sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and I” will be considered grammatically correct. Nevertheless, for the time being the rule is alive and well in the minds of college professors – and quite possibly in the minds of your future employers – so it’s just as well to learn it now and begin to use it. To a person who knows – and hears – the difference between “the sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and me” versus “the sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and I,” the 2nd version really is jarring, and you don’t want to jar your professor or your boss.

AND SEE:
Langan on pronouns
the sweaters Mom knitted for Victor and me
“My husband likes football more than I/me.”
Pronoun case guidelines from Tidewater CC (very short and clear)
Diana Hacker on Choosing between pronouns such as I and me

10 basic sentences in the English language

update 9/9/2012: For the purposes of our class, Quirk and Greenbaum’s 5+2 scheme is simpler and easier to remember.

According to Martha Kolln (p 55), the following 10 sentence patterns account for 95% of all sentences in English. NOTE: The sentences below are the simplest form of each pattern; each has just one independent clause.

3 “be” patterns
The students are upstairs.
The students are diligent.
The students are scholars.

2 linking verb patterns
The students seem diligent.
The students became scholars.

1 intransitive verb pattern
The students rested.

4 transitive verb patterns
The students studied their assignment.
The students gave the professor their homework.
The students consider the teacher intelligent.
The students consider the course a challenge.


What makes these sentences different is the predicate, not the subject, and what makes the predicates different is the grammatical function of its parts.

3 “be” patterns
The students are upstairs.
(Subject – Be-verb – Adverb)

The students are diligent.
(Subject – Be-verb – Adjective)

The students are scholars.
(Subject – Be-verb – Subject Complement)

2 linking verb patterns
The students seem diligent.
(Subject – Linking verb – Adjective)

The students became scholars.
(Subject – Linking verb – Subject Complement)

1 intransitive verb pattern
The students rested.
(Subject – Intransitive Verb)

4 transitive verb patterns
The students studied their assignment.
(Subject – Transitive Verb – Direct Object)

The students gave the professor their homework.
(Subject – Transitive Verb – Indirect Object Direct Object)

The students consider the teacher intelligent.
(Subject – Transitive Verb – Direct Object – Adjective)

The students consider the course a challenge.
(Subject – Transitive Verb – Direct Object – Object Complement)


4 transitive verb patterns in living color
The students studied their assignment.
(Subject  Transitive verb  Direct Object)

The students gave the professor their homework.
(Subject  Transitive Verb  Indirect Object  Direct Object)

The students consider the teacher intelligent.
(Subject Transitive Verb Indirect Object Adjective)

The students consider the course a challenge.
(Subject  Transitive Verb  Direct Object – Object Complement)


The last 4 sentences again:
The students (SUBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) || studied (VERB) their assignment (DIRECT OBJECT = NOUN PHRASE).
The students (SUBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) || gave (VERB) the professor (INDIRECT OBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) their homework (DIRECT OBJECT = NOUN PHRASE).
The students (SUBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) || consider (VERB) the teacher intelligent (ADJECTIVE).
The students (SUBJECT = NOUN PHRASE) || consider (VERB) the course a challenge (SUBJECT COMPLEMENT = NOUN PHRASE).


NOTE: All subjects in sentences are either NOUNS or NOUN PHRASES.


DEFINITIONS:
linking verb
intransitive verb
transitive verb

AND SEE:
SVO v. SVC
5 + 2: the 7 ‘canonical’ English sentences
Class notes on X-1-2-3
3 ways to combine the 7 sentence patterns
10 basic sentence patterns in the English language
SM’s sophisticated SVOO sentence
DT’s astute observation (reflexive pronouns)
tablehtml mergecells
A short overview of English syntax by Rodney Huddleston

Conceding a point, part 2

Excerpt from a New Yorker post on the possibility that President Obama is “too cool” for ordinary Americans:

“Obama is cool,” Ron Lloyd, a commenter from Walla Walla, Washington, wrote at Politico. “The Sinatra of politics.”

[snip]

Notwithstanding [Mr. Lloyd’s positive review], it remains to be seen how Obama’s latest media appearances will go down in places like [Walla Walla]. For all his smarts, he needs to be a bit careful. Americans like having a funny, articulate, and modern President. But they don’t want somebody who is too cool for school.

April 30, 2012
MR. COOL: OBAMA AND THE HIPNESS FACTOR
Posted by John Cassidy

Writer’s argument: “Middle Americans” are likely to be put off by President Obama’s “cool.”
Point conceded: Some Americans from out-of-the-way places like President Obama’s cool.

Writer John Cassidy uses the word notwithstanding to concede, or acknowledge, the fact that his argument is not true of all Americans.

AND SEE:
Concession words
What is a concession relation?

The reader over your shoulder