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Saving English One Word At A Time.


An English tutoring column by Ralph Schatzki who would like you to join him in the task of saving the language, step-by-step, word-by-word, one person at a time.



The King and I?

Subject Object: The King and I or the King and me? Him and me, or, is it, he and I went to the park? Saving English One Word At A Time will help clarify that.

The famous fictional account of Anna Leonowens' The King and I is an interesting case. Since the title is not a complete sentence, it is not technically incorrect.

More on this subject!


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There is an appalling lack of proper usage where it comes to pronouns. Remember when your teacher corrected your friend when he said, "Billy and me played last weekend"? "No, no: 'Billy and I.'" As a result, many people come to decide that the word "me" is bad. But then, why have the word in the language at all?!?

Listening to people on the TV, radio, or just in normal, everyday conversation, we hear things like: "Her and I like to go to the beach," or "It was a great day for him and I." Well, these are just two examples where "me" should be used.


Mistake Number One

Now, there are two types of mistakes. The first is where the speaker hasn't a clue which pronoun to use: "Us went home," or "He did it to they."

Fortunately, this is extraordinarily rare.


Mistake Number Two


The second mistake is the oft-occurring one, but it's easy to correct. When there is a combined pronoun- "he and I," "you and me"- people get confused. But the rule is SOOOOO simple: just use each pronoun separately to see which fit.

"He and I went to the beach."

Check: "He went to the beach," "I went to the beach." Since each sentence with the single pronoun makes sense, the combined one is correct.

"Him and me went to the park."

Check: "Him went to the park," "Me went to the park." No and no.

"He went to the park," "I went to the park," so the sentence should be, "He and I went to the park."

"My parents gave a present to him and I."

"Him" is correct, but "I" should be "me," so the sentence should be "My parents gave a present to him and me."



The Dilemma of "The King and I"

The famous fictional account of Anna Leonowens' The King and I is an interesting case. Since the title is not a complete sentence, it is not technically incorrect. One could say both "The King and I went to the country" and "This is the story about the King and me." Maybe Anna liked the sound of "The King and I" better, but as the meaning of the title seems to be the latter, however, it appears to be wrong: It should be The King and Me. It is fortunate that the story is not true; otherwise, the Thai royal children would not speak English as well as they do.



I know you get it, but just listen to how many people don't!




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About Column Contributor


Ralph Schatzki


A proofreader, editor, author, math teacher and tutor, professional opera singer, ex-lawyer (by his own choice), sports fan, husband and father. He has lived on both American coasts, as well as in the southwest and midwest, and overseas in Thailand for more than thirteen years. He loves to read, write and perform, to watch sports, and to spend time with his family.
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