Destruction of the English language

Sorry but a moan.

I’m getting sick and tired of dramas/films which say ‘me’ when they should say ‘I’. It’s got to the stage where I hear this so often I’ve become hyper sensitive to it. Last night TWICE I heard ‘xyz and me’ instead of ‘xyz and I’. Okay I expect it on American products and also UK dramas aimed at the proletariat but I’m also hearing this phrase coming from the mouths of ‘so called’ middle class posher actor/roles e.g. Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) in Last Tango In Halifax who is supposed to be a bit posh.

Moan over with :slight_smile:

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It’s the way people speak now. One of my daughters has a good degree in English from a Russell Group University but she has long since adopted the form “me and my children” as the normal way. When I correct her, she just laughs, that’s if she bothers to react at all.

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Hmm not really a thread title that suggests longevity in the padded cell. Perhaps we could get the title changed to ‘destruction of English language’ or ‘home for language pedants’ …sorry that last one sounded patronising which was not the intent…but a general place to rant about abuse of the Queens English would find quite a few takers I think :slight_smile:

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Thanks :slight_smile: let me start…

The use of the word “hack”

Back in the day, a “hack” was a quick and dirty fix in software or worse an illegal entry into a computer system or program. Now it is used way too liberally to describe using something for a purpose it was not originally intended. eg… turning a bathmat into a cushion … that’s not a hack.

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Oh God… “me and my children”… it’s making me cringe reading it. That sounds SO wrong!

I found this quite useful as a guide (remove other people in the sentence):

Errors in Usage

Beginners often confuse “I” and “me” because they mean the same thing, but even native speakers can struggle when there is more than one subject or object. Study the errors below so you can avoid making similar mistakes in your writing.

Jack and me got home late.

In this sentence, there are two subjects “Jack and me,” but me is the objective case. As it’s a subject, the correct pronoun is “I.” A good way to check is to remove the other people at the beginning of the sentence and re-read the sentence to see if it sounds right (“Me got home late” does not!). Most people can find the right word by ear this way.

The puppy licked my sister and I.

Here “I” is used as a direct object-the person receiving the licks but “me” is the right word to use as a direct object. Again, try removing all other people after the verb except “I” and re-read the sentence to see if it sounds right (again, “The puppy licked I” does not sound right).

The snobby girl thinks she's above my family and I, but she's not.

This is another example of how multiple objects adds confusion. Here “I” is incorrectly used as the object of the preposition “above,” but it should be “me.”

It wasn't me.

This one trips up a lot of people as it can’t be checked by ear, like the examples above. Though this is a common colloquial phrase, it is not grammatically correct. In this sentence, “was” is a form of the verb to be that sets up a predicate nominative, so the writer should use “I,” which is in the nominative case.

Suzy and me are best friends.

This is another example of an error because of a plural subject. “I” should be used because it’s the correct choice when it comes to subjects. It can also be helpful to consider the position of the word in the sentence. “I” is used before the verb, while “me” is almost always used after the verb (the exception being the predicate nominative).

If we ever get to travel again @solwisesteve you and I should go have a beer

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Hmm, the use of English thread seems to have lasted…

To the OP, I started to despair 20 years ago when I discovered my oldest son’s English teacher either didn’t recognise errors like that, of couldn’t be bothered to correct them. It’s not as if that particular one is a difficult thing to grasp, the majority of people managing to use the correct pronoun when talking only about themselves…

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Innit blud. Me feel you.

I still insist on ‘xyz and I’ but have to admit that it’s sounding more and more out of place nowadays. Almost pompous unless you say ‘xyz and Aii’ Ali G style.

Language changes. It’s inevitable unfortunately and sometimes as annoying as the list of new words that end up in the dictionary each year.

Amirite?

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I can understand the incorrect used in slang or language aimed at the plebeian class but not spouting from the mouths of actors playing a supposedly middle class role. :frowning:

Anyway Waitrose have just turned up with our delivery (YES we managed to get a delivery slot!).

When I was completing my PhD, my supervisor, a professor, once said ‘Chris, if the only thing in your thesis I can criticise you on is you grammar, it means I’ve not found fault in your arguments or conclusion, and it frustrates me. On grammar, everyone can be criticised’. It’s always stuck with me because he was right. We always have to find something to criticise in people and grammar is the easiest.

He also said to me ‘A suit can’t make you more competent, but it can do a bloody good job at masking incompetence’. He was, perhaps, the wisest man I’ve ever known. To this day I have avoided any job that requires wearing a suit.

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I’ve studied linguistics and the one constant is change. English is not a static language. While at has rules for correct syntax, those rules are highly subject to the time they exist in.

The English, which you perceive as correct, is absolutely different from the English that was accepted as correct 200 years before that.

Take the differences between American and British spelling, for example. They all originated in the UK ultimately and were in fact accepted as correct with a marginal preference for what is now American English. Webster wrote his dictionary and picked a side and in retort, the British establishment consciously decided to go the other way, such was the linguistic tiff. And so a new understanding on what is correct and not was artificially born and drawn on geographic lines.

I do not wish to be misunderstood here. There are constructions that get my goat (so to speak). But the reality is, it is correct if it is accepted as correct. And English will be as different in 200 years from now is it currently is to 200 year in the past.

Obviously technological changes have imparted a massive influence. But now, with such a globalised society and the majority of English speakers being non native, the emphasis is less on stringent adherence to rules and more on reducing ambiguity. English does have a lot of “fluff” that isn’t strictly required to make it work. Take the indefinite particle for example. You can in fact just delete the work “a” from any sentence and not change the meaning. Many languages do without such things.

I would not be too married to the rules of a language. It’s more important that we all understand what they are at a given time than to lock them down in stone eternal.

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Well, your moan most certainly wasn’t over with, and what’s more, you knew that was the case when you wrote it. What do we call that sort of behaviour in English ??

There is a significant difference between spoken English and written English.

Your initial moan was about spoken English. I don’t see anything wrong with the spoken texts that you were moaning about. The spoken words were easy on the ear and the meaning was perfectly clear.

On the other hand, written English, especially in literature, scientific papers, engineering, instructions, legal documents etc etc needs to be and should be, standardised and precise. I’m with you in this respect. But let’s face it, none of us is perfect.

When I started the “Use of English” thread, I nailed my colours to the mast. I made it clear that I was hopeless at school with English, both literature and grammar. I still am. I try to improve my writing for the reasons outlined above, but it isn’t always successful.

As for the spoken word, “me” v “I” … much of the time the incorrect version sounds easier on the ear.

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Constant evolution, is I think, the phrase you are looking for.
1/2 of what kids say these days makes no sense to me and even when they do say words I recognise, most of them are mumbled to the point where they are mostly illegible.
One example that really gets to me is the confusion between ‘a’ and ‘an’. Even so called professionals can’t get it right.

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One of many threads on same over the years. The language is not and never has been in any danger of destruction. All language is a living, breathing ever changing thing. The “rules” of `English most were brought up with often have little applicability beyond a small radius and most are utterly oblivious to that.

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Was instead of were and were instead of was irritates the fk out of me. I could kind of understand it if someone only used was, or only used were, but to still use both and in the wrong context strikes me as deliberately ‘dumbing down’.

Seems to be a football/street crossover. Innit tho’ boi.

Apparently I’m no longer allowed to comment or reply on this thread so, if it’s okay, I’ll just read from the side lines? :wink:

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Yes, English evolved from Ye olde English into the language we recognise ourselves but even the BBC news has changed, can you imagine Richard Baker or Gordon Honeycombe reading the news today or even what they would think of the current use of English language being broadcast today?

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Be a bit grisly if they were…

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Genuinely glad there is no chance of that happening. Nothing better than being told the news by someone with an accent which suggests from the off they are complete it detached from the reality of that news.

But it was how it was done back then, the English was spoken very correctly and our grandparents might well be horrified to hear Huw Edwards or Fiona Bruce reading the news today.