In the last couple of days reading two posts inspired today's rumination. One reflected on the fact that the author is resistant to change. Having been dissatisfied with his previous blog site for some time, he only reluctantly, little by little, moved to Our Salon. The other piece was a humorous comment on the doorbell that chimes every time someone goes into the Opium Den.
I almost didn't read the second post because there was a misspelling and a grammatical error in one sentence in the first paragraph. But, I read it because I wanted to to see where the author was going. It was well worth the read.
I've known for a long time that I'm a grammatical conservative. The idea that usage determines what is proper in grammar just rankled me the first time an English teacher expressed that opinion. And, of course, the teacher was right. Obviously, otherwise people would be telling me, "Methinks thou doth protest too much."
Would you like to know what upset me? The author used "I" as the subject of a prepositional phrase, as in "to my wife and I." This usage has become so common that, as much as it grates on my auditory nerve, I have to accept the fact that this may be nearing the point where it is accepted as proper.
How did this happen? I think it is rooted in improper grammar from a generations ago. Our daughters used to pop into the kitchen and say something like, "Me and Tiffany are going to Annie's." And we would respond, "You've got to quit spending time with "Mean Tiffany. It's, Tiffany and I." **eye roll**, "whatever." The problem is we got through in a way. We just didn't make it clear why. I is the subjective case. Me is the objective case. How well would that explanation have gone over with a nine year old? So, now, even President Clinton has used I as the object of a prepositional phrase.
The problem with usage is that one never knows when one's writing has become dated. The use of the impersonal 'one' is, I guess still proper rather than the second person, 'you'. Still, 'you' sounds less stuffy. I have to learn to use my ear. At some point I will know that "to you and I" is accepted, if not standard.
What grates on your ear?