The Grammar Hammer

 


 

–I vs. Me–

I’ve posted on this subject once before, but I’m still baffled by the amount of people who don’t know when to say I and when to say me. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this is a world full of rareroads and Wal-Marts, where people are full of good ideals, and some of them live in Massatushetts. It doesn’t really seem like people try anymore to use their words properly. Except for the handful of people who actually DO try, and just get it wrong. Maybe they don’t know. Maybe the only part of English class they remember is the part where you have to put yourself last, as in my brother and I. But that’s only half of it.

Worse than hearing someone say I when they should’ve said me isn’t nearly as bad when it’s just a regular person. But when it’s a WRITER, someone who should know better, it makes me want to claw their face. I can’t help it. I have violent tendencies brought on by idiocy.

Let me begin by saying this to those who misuse the two words: I recognize that you’re trying to do better. I really do. I recognize your efforts and I thank you for trying to be proper. Now that I’ve said that, let me say this: stop screwing it up! In your efforts (however valiant they may be) to appear more intelligent, misusing those two words makes you appear less intelligent.

Now you’re probably wondering, “But, Kim, how do we know when to use which word?” It’s a good question with a simple answer.

Many people think it’s always the other person’s name and then I. But that’s not true. Well, the part about putting yourself last is true, but it’s not always I. So how do you know when to use I and when to use Me? Simple. Take out the other person’s name and see if it makes sense. For example:

This is a picture of Joe and I.

If we take out ‘Joe and’, it says:

This is a picture of I.

Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

This is a picture of Joe and me.

Without ‘Joe and’, it reads:

This is a picture of me.

Let’s take a test. See if you can get these correct:

1) Would you like to go to the store with Tim and I?

2) Sit here and take a break with Suzie and me.

How’d you do? Think you nailed it? I hope you did. Here it is. The first one is wrong. Without Tim and, I’m asking if you would like to go to the store with I. That makes me sound like a gibberish-speaking fool, which would be fine if I was teaching a class on how to speak gibberish like a fool.

So how about the second one? That one is correct. Take out Suzie and and it makes perfect sense. I’m telling you to sit here and take a break with me. I’m now fit to mingle in society.

See how simple that is? Now that you know, you can use the two words properly. And if you don’t, you have no excuse, and I won’t overlook it again. I’ll hunt you down and beat the Is out of you. I’ll make you a character in one of my stories and torture the life out of you. I’ll start a petition to have you removed from society. I’ll spearhead a campaign to see that you’re shunned by your peers and families. You may think that’s a good thing now, but after months–even years–of isolation, you’ll begin to see the error of your ways. Then, you’ll think to yourself, “I wish someone was here with me.” Because if you think, “I wish someone was here with I,” I’ll put out a hit on you and we’ll call it a day.

Now go forth, good people. Go forth and spread the wisdom I have shared with you. Work it into a conversation. But don’t screw it up. And if you do, for the love of all that’s holy don’t mention my name.


 

–Who vs. Whom–

Just like when determining whether you should use I or me, you determine if you should use who or whom by doing a little word play. You figure it out by turning the sentence around and replacing the who or whom with he or him. If he is wrong, so is who. If him is wrong, so is whom. Confused? Don’t be. It’s super easy. Here are some examples:

The sentence: Who do you consider the best writer?

To figure out whether we should use who or whom, we do a little word play to decide which of these sounds right:

Do you consider him the best writer?
Do you consider he the best writer?

Since him is correct, we would use whom.

Correct: Whom do you consider the best writer?

Another example:

It was Stephen King whom wrote that book.

Which sounds right?

He wrote that book.
Him wrote that book.

Since he sounds right, the word to use is who.

Correct: It was Stephen King who wrote that book.

Once you’ve determined whether to use he or him, all you have to do is remember that he = who and him = whom (both him and whom end with m).

Now that you’re edumacated, let’s have a few practice sentences.

1) Who/whom is that actor?

2) Who/whom are you?

3) To who/whom do you wish to speak?

4) Who/whom made this decision?

5) Who/whom do you think we should support?

Answers:

1) Since we can determine that he is that actor, the correct word to use would be WHO.

2) Since you are he, the correct word to use would be WHO.

3) Since you wish to speak to him, the correct word to use is WHOM.

4) Since he made this decision, the correct word to use would be WHO.

5) Since we should support him, the correct word to use would be WHOM.

And there you have it. I told you it was super easy. Practice a few times to make sure you have it down. Don’t want to go making an arse of yourself at dinner parties.


–Serial, Spree, and Mass Murder: The Difference–

I see a lot of folks–including the media–confusing serial killings for mass murders, mass murders for spree killings, and so on. I want to clear this up.

*Serial: consisting of, forming part of, or taking place in a series. For example, a magazine issued monthly, bi-monthly, etc. is a serial. A TV show is a serial. There’s a distinct time-lapse between each installment.

A serial killer is someone who kills three or more people in different locations as isolated events with a cooling off period in between each murder.

Example: In March, Bob kills a woman in a park. In June, he kills a man in a grocery store. In July, he kills a woman at a bus stop. In November, Bob kills another woman behind a bakery.

Note the cooling off period in between each murder as well as the different locations.

______________________________

*Spree: a spell or sustained period of unrestrained activity of a particular kind. For example, a shopping spree.

A spree killer is someone who kills two or more people in a short time in different locations with almost no time break in between murders.

Example: John has had enough. He grabs his rifle and heads out the door of his house intent on getting his revenge. He stops at his ex-wife’s house and kills her and her mother. From there, he drives across town to his ex-wife’s boyfriend’s house and shoots him dead. Then, John drives to where he works and shoots his boss and three co-workers.

Note the different locations of each murder and the fact that there is almost no time in between for cooling off.

______________________________

*Mass: relating to, done by, or affecting large numbers of people or things. For example, terror seizes a crowd of people and causes mass panic. They all try to flee, which creates mass chaos. It affects the whole group as one being.

A mass murderer is someone who murders four or more people in one location with no cooling off period between each murder.

Example: All of Joan’s friends have gathered at her house for a party. What they don’t know is Joan laced the punch with a healthy dose of arsenic. They’ll all be dead within the hour.

Note the single location with no cooling off period.

I hope this helps everyone better understand the difference between a serial killer, mass murderer, and a spree killer. Because there certainly are differences.


–Compliment vs. Complement: The Difference–
I see a lot of people confusing complement and compliment. I even saw a snotty individual who thought their fecal matter smelled like a fine floral arrangement get haughty on someone who used the word complement (correctly, mind you). The person was quick to point out the ‘mistake’ and promptly informed the other person that it should be compliment, not complement. I laughed and laughed, and then I cried a little because damn it to hell, it’s sad that people don’t know their words. So I thought I’d try to help.

COMPLIMENT:

a polite expression of praise or admiration.

EXAMPLES:

He gave me a compliment, making me blush.

My compliments to the chef.

COMPLEMENT:

1) a thing that completes or brings to perfection, or 2) a number or quantity of something required to make a group complete.

EXAMPLES:

This wine really complements the fish.

The store currently has a full complement of staff.

It isn’t hard to distinguish between the two words and know when each should be used once you know that there actually is a difference. And now you know. So go forth, my friends. Go forth and spread the knowledge! Then I’ll compliment you on your job well done.

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