Mighty Red Pen

February 26, 2009

All I’s on Obama: me vs I

It’s not just because I can’t get enough of President Obama and his ability to form a complete sentence while speaking that I was especially interested in an op-ed by Patricia O’Conner (author of Woe Is I) and Stewart Kellerman that appeared in The New York Times earlier this week. It’s actually because “An Object Lesson from the Oval Office” covers a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: the seemingly rampant confusion surrounding the usage of me versus I.

WHEN President Obama speaks before Congress and the nation tonight, he will be facing some of his toughest critics.

Grammar junkies.

Since his election, the president has been roundly criticized by bloggers for using “I” instead of “me” in phrases like “a very personal decision for Michelle and I” or “the main disagreement with John and I” or “graciously invited Michelle and I.”

The rule here, according to conventional wisdom, is that we use “I” as a subject and “me” as an object, whether the pronoun appears by itself or in a twosome. Thus every “I” in those quotes ought to be a “me.”

So should the president go stand in a corner of the Oval Office (if he can find one) and contemplate the error of his ways? Not so fast.

Hat tip to One Good Move.

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