Thursday, June 16, 2005

My inner Strunk & White

The other night at dinner with friends I made the enormously gross mistake of getting the use of I vs Me wrong. Well, correction and admission - I was incorrectly correcting someone. WHICH I NEVER DO when it comes to grammar because I think it rude among other things. (Well, I do correct one friend but honestly she needs the help.) Something that night, I guess the margarita, made me confidently say, "I" when she finished her sentence. And they pounced, my friends did. Because they're a smart bunch and I had gotten it very wrong and done so out loud. I deserved to be dismissed from the table (reflections on a strict grammar upbringing), but instead they all repeated "No, it's me ... so and so and me." I forget the sentence now but they were right. I was wrong. And the thing is that I KNOW BETTER. I've had the correct usage drilled into my head since being able to string words into complete sentences. I know the test, taking the other person from the equation and seeing if your sentence makes sense. I know it. AND I know to keep my mouth shut. Well, most of the time.

Moving on but keeping on words in general... why do we use utilize and (cringe) utilization when use is a perfectly good word? Why why why? It's not as if the number of syllables equals the IQ level of the writer. And while I'm at it, I prefer to see no more use of prior experience. If it's experience, we get it, it happened before the present. Just a sample of what comes across my desk on a fairly regular basis. And I think a tiny exercise in face-saving.

That said, one last thought on words. I'd like to declare right here and now that I have fallen head over heals for Hep Cat. It was in yesterday's crossword and I think it's just plain cool, daddy-o.

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