Do I cut NO pronoun slack?

It is clear to me from my own two seventh graders and the seventy-three kids I teach that they have not learned a whole bunch of pronoun usage rules.

Three egregious one:

Ben and me went to see Mr. Hood. (ow – objective instead of nominative case)

He’s bigger than me. (Comparisons use nominative case.)

When you finish filling out the forms, please give them to Ms. Davis or myself. (Ban the reflexive pronoun!)

But the ones that they ALL got wrong on the homework are the ones that make me look like the Ming the Merciless:

Everyone thought it was really funny, but no one guessed it was him. (When the pronoun is an object but the verb is to be, you use the nominative case.)

Dilemma

Fight the rising tide of bad usage. Stand on the high ground of the subjective/nominative case. Teach them the prescriptive rules and insist that we follow them.
OR
Assume that if it hasn’t been covered yet, others don’t feel that it is important. Take the descriptive “everyone’s doing it” approach. Swim with the current instead of upstream against it.

I know that the English language is changing, evolving, adding new words, and developing new meanings for old words. It is a living organism. Will I just end up like a failed villain, shaking my fist at the cosmos?

Advice? Join the Evil League of Evil now, grumbling and complaining, or stay as Libros, Princess of Pronouns, fighting the good fight for correct pronoun usage everywhere?

Image by jonsson

4 Comments Add yours

  1. jessica says:

    i still have to think to myself when to use …and I or me and …..

    1. Kate Tabor says:

      So, I guess my question for you is, do you KNOW which one you are supposed to use? And do you ask yourself each time when you write or when you speak?
      I wonder if I explicitly explain WHY we use specific pronouns, it will make more sense to my students.
      she and I?
      us?
      Thanks

  2. Paul Cornies says:

    Like mathematics there is something about following a clear rule which instills confidence and satisfaction. The nominative and objective cases are something that students can get to understand and use sensibly and be proud of their accomplishment.

    To (whoever, whomever) cares, the unexpected snowfall delighted Jill and (she,her) and inspired Matt and (I,me) to build a snowperson.

    Colour me Luke, the suitor of Libros, Princess of Pronouns.

    1. Kate Tabor says:

      Paul!
      What a pleasure to meet your alter-ego, Luke! I also made the critical error of thinking that my students remembered from last year’s sentence diagramming work what a direct or an indirect object is. So, today we looked at the basic sentence pattern – Subject/verb/direct object/indirect object.

      Maybe I will have grammar boot camp this year. And whoever finds it redundant will have to think of the work as practice, while those for whom it is new will discover that he or she has new found control over the writing that the we do in our coursework. Pro (not amateur) nouns.

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