D is for Direct Object or Happy Birthday?
I made a mental list of all the exciting, fun grammatical terms that I could write about on D-Day: direct objects, dangling modifiers, declarative sentences, dependent clauses, descriptive writing, diagramming sentences, dialogue…and many more. You know, all those things that thrill you when you read about them. It’s more than enough to keep me writing for hours.
But dang it, it’s my birthday, so let’s have some real fun. I’ve got some party kitties just hanging around impatiently waiting for some good times.
Easy. Just think of “I love you.”
“I love you” is a perfect Subject-Verb-Object sentence using a subject pronoun ( I ) and an object pronoun ( you ).
Subject pronouns and object pronouns get mixed up all the time. Douglas Cazort, author Under the Grammar Hammer: The 25 Most Important Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, writes that using objective case pronouns as subjects is the GRAND NUMBER ONE of all mistakes, causing “a strong negative reaction in a great majority of readers.”
People generally do not have difficulty with singular subject and object pronouns. They are easy-peasey. Just look at this chart. There may be some odd romantic triangles here, but there are no grammatical errors. People have more difficulty with two or more subject pronouns or object pronouns. The second chart should help with that.
You just have to remember that “I” is the subject pronoun and “me” is the object pronoun and never switch them. If you keep the subject pronouns in the front of the sentence and the object pronouns in the back of the sentence, you should get your pronoun use correct.
The trouble comes when two people love the same two people. Romantically, that’s
an argument a fistfight a brawl waiting to happen. And grammatically, it causes anguish. People overthink their pronouns, then make the wrong choice.
Again, if you keep the subject pronouns in the front of the sentence and the object pronouns in the back of the sentence, you should get your subject and object pronoun use correct.
Look at this chart of mixed-up romantic relationships. These people are bound for even more trouble romantically, but they get five stars for correct grammar.
So What? Who Cares?
1. Turns out a lot of people care about grammar. Here’s one clue. You can buy buttons or T-shirts that proclaim that people evaluate your grammar. It happens all the time. So be careful. Get your pronouns right, and people will know that you got an A in English in the fourth grade.
2. If you know your subject/object pronouns you, too, can wear the green button or the orange T-shirt. You can also correct TV newscasters and commentators. You might think twice before correcting your mother-in-law.
The Last Meow
So the cats are tired of all this grammar stuff and want to get back to the birthday party. I hear that Grumpy Cat is eyeing my cake and licking his lips. Knowing him, he’ll dive into the cake before anyone else has a chance to have a piece. See you on E-Day.