17 November 2008

Laying Down the Law

We have to pause the gratitude for a day, because I must lay down the law on a grammar issue. There's a lot of bad grammar floating around out there, and mostly that's okay. Split those infinitives (it's a silly rule for a language with infinitives that are already two words) and end those sentences with prepositions to your heart's content (it often sounds pretentious if you don't anyway) and confuse lay and lie if you really must (but, seriously, it's not that hard until you get to the past tense).

There is one thing that must never happen though.

I's

is never okay.

An I(apostrophe)s means either

(1) I is . . .
which is only spoken by characters in Gone with the Wind or possibly by individuals who speak those dialects preserved on remote islands isolated from all other English-speakers for 100+ years.

OR

(2) It's a possessive, and we don't make possessives out of personal pronouns by adding an apostrophe and an s. EVER. Everyone knows this. Think about it. This is he's house. This is you's grammar book. This is we's kangaroo. It's not the kind of mistake that any fluent English speaker would make, but I keep seeing it on blogs, like this:

T-Bone and I's big screen TV is awesome.


If you wouldn't say I's big screen TV is awesome, you should not say T-Bone and I's big screen TV is awesome either. It's always wrong. My. The word is my. The possessive of I is my. Use it. It will change your life.

8 comments:

Heidi said...

Ah, an entry that does my editor's heart good. Thank you.

Ann-Marie said...

Tomorrow's forum address at BYU will be by Lynne Truss author of "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" It's at 11 and if you aren't on the desk maybe you can watch it/listen to it on http://www.byub.org/devotionals/

rebekah said...

WHAT?!?! lynne trusse is going to be at BYU?!?!? she's my IDOL!!!

and about your post, i's don't get it, and neither does t-bone.

Anonymous said...

I have not ever seen that, but using 's for a plural absolutely makes me crazy! (literally?) Mom

Perhaps I should have said, I's not ever seen that.

Amy said...

Do you really run into this error frequently?

And I would avoid any and all folks known as "T-bone."

SCS said...

Just for the record, what have you done with we's kangaroo??

By the way, I wore and got spit-up on we's red floral shirt again, so it's back in the wash.

Just remember--we's sisters, so it's OK

MBC said...

Stop wearing I's shirt or T-Bone will pound you!

Anonymous said...

Shock! I think I heard Julienne Hough say on Dancing with the Stars last night, "Cody and I's dance. . ." I would never have noticed it had I not read your blog. Mom

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