Sunday, November 19, 2006
Do You Think Pronoun Case Is Dead?
I care "for whom the bell tolls."
In "Philadelphia Story," Katherine Hepburn says "It is I." Do you answer the phone "It's me"? Would you rather use "that" than choose between "who" and "whom"?
Do you think English speakers have evolved beyond "who" and "whom"? I know the debate makes people furious no matter which side they're on, but I think it's sort of fun.
How about you?
On the other hand, what do you do with that inner editor who faints onto her verbal sofa when she hears the mistake made?
In a post-Thanksgiving column, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote, "In Iraq, the only question is, who can we turn the country over to?"
The language, apparently, has evolved -- or something. The Times, as I recall, abandoned distinguishing between who and whom some time ago.
For my part, The Times is not the entity I'd turn Iraq -- or anything else I'd like to preserve -- over to.
Keep up the good blogging.
Let's play some more. Would you say "It's HE/HIM WHO/WHOM I adore?
Do you think "She is the woman who I would give everything to." is annoying? Why?
Do you find this phrasing more or less offensive than the previous?
"She is the woman to whom I'd give everything."
I'd love to see any funny error- ridden sentences fellow bloggers would like to post, with or without comment.
One of my deepest beliefs is that when we forget how to laugh we're doomed to misery. Whether pronoun case or even complete sentences matter to us or not!
No one can say Dowd doesn't know how to use the language, so obviously that wording was deliberate.
About that woman who's going to get all my stuff, I dislike the first sentence because I don't think you need the "who" in it at all. The second sounds suitably poetic, because only in a poem would anyone give any woman everything. :)
Watashi wa Mokey desu.
Essentially, "I am Mokey," but really, "As for me, I am Mokey." There isn't much difference. Watashi will mean "I" or "me" in any sentence, and to make the word "mine," just say Watashino. To say "we" or "us," just say Watashitachi.
It makes me wonder why exactly we bother with "I/me," "she/her," "he/him," etc. (although I cringe, too, when someone says, "between she and I...")
We quit the "thou/thee" thing and just chose to use "you" for all situations -- even for plurals. Will we do the same for the rest of the pronouns eventually?
Another interesting tidbit from a Japanese language nerd -- they don't have definite or indefinite articles "a" or "the." Therefore, there is no way to say, "This is THE book," as opposed to "This is a book."
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