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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: Me, Myself or I?

Me, Myself or I?
Cause of much confusion, not a little of it caused by well-meaning teachers in the hope of improving the manners of their pupils.

Here are some examples and hints:
You wouldn’t dream of saying; ‘Leave it to I.’ so, why would you write, ‘Leave it to Jane and I’? The correct form is ‘Leave it to me.’ And, therefore, ‘Leave it to Jane and me.’

Since the confusion often occurs when a second person creeps into the sentence, try writing it without the intruder, retaining only the first person pronoun, as illustrated above.

Similarly, you’re unlikely to utter the sentence; ‘There’s no doubt about what me would do under the circumstances.’ You would always write, ‘There’s no doubt about what I would do under the circumstances.’

Finally, ‘myself’ is rarely needed. If you find yourself using it, always question the need and the context. I can think of only two instances of proper use:

‘Some people think Gerald is a pain in the fundament, but I myself am more tolerant.’
However, even this usage is convoluted, as the sentence would say precisely the same thing without ‘myself’. Try it.

The other instance is: ‘This causes me to ask myself why such a thing should be.’ And is perfectly legitimate.

Pic: Shadows.
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