The Write Idea LLC
MORE GRAMMAR CLUES
DID YOU MISS A CLUE? NO PROBLEM, IT'S HERE.
Between you and me
Many people have a problem with "me." (Well, I hope they don't have a problem with me!)
When in doubt, do you resort to"I" because "I" somehow sounds better to your ear or more elegant than "me?"
This is why many people say, "between you and I," which is emphatically not correct. Never.
Just between you and me, it's a phrase that makes even casual
speakers and writers of English cringe, and it labels the speaker as uninformed.
Always say, "between you and me."
Between you and me and the lamppost, that's the real scoop.
Those pesky "ing" words
Following our relentless tracking down the mysteries of the language we use
and misuse every day, we present another archive clue. Oh, by the way, it's
right there in the sentence you've just read. Did you find it?
The key is in the "ing." When you tack "ing" onto a verb, voilà! it becomes a noun
if it comes after a preposition - words like of, to, in, before, by - OR
if it is part of an entire phrase used as a noun.
(For those of you with insatiable curiosity, this verb + "ing" thing
is called a gerund.)
So then, you need to treat that erstwhile verb as a noun.
The noun or pronoun that precedes it, "owns" it and
shows up in the possessive:
our tracking down, his running away,
my hoping for more, their doing the right thing.
Not us tracking down, him running away, me hoping for more, them doing the right thing.
To help you do the right thing, here are some examples:
I remember Barb's telling me about the ghost in the closet.
(Here the phrase is the object of "remember.")
Jack's breaking out only made matters worse.
(Here it is the subject of the sentence.)
The mystery was solved by his finding the ring.
(And here it is the object of the preposition "by.")
?????????????? Why, you may ask, is this so important?
Well, it isn't world peace, but it makes for smoother, silkier writing
and speech. It's the difference between a door that squeaks
and one with well-oiled hinges.
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