First let me introduce background to My Wife and I, a charming musical written and produced in the 1960s, both locally and Off-Broadway. The whole book and score reflected the talent of a small radio station owner. Bill Mahoney knew–lived–family dynamics well enough to write and direct real, memorable characters and he had the skill for penning melodies and orchestrating those tunes that hummed themselves long past CURTAINS. My Wife and I is the story’s title, the title song, and except for how I introduced it up front, would not, as a rule, be preceded by a pesky pronoun.
And here is where my almost-title Pet Peeves would have come in. I ditched that because it sounded too, well–peevish. And my intent is to point out a simple way to sound more schooled than a whole bunch of otherwise educated folks who routinely avoid the word ME.
My wife and I are so very much in love . . . I can still hear that beautiful opening phrase–subject of the sentence, obviously. But place the stage couple after one of these words, for example, and you will sound ignorant: to, for, by, of, after, from, etc. TAKE AWAY THE PARTNER (or some other such) and it will cure you forever because you would never say “Thanks for giving a ride to I.” Or “I’m making lunch for I.”
“The driver splashed mud when he passed by I.” “It’s not the fault of I.” “She followed after I.” “They could not learn from I.” Now when you put the partner words back in, your ear should be happy and forever automatic in allowing ME to take its rightful place in your speech. “It’s not the fault of Marti and me.” There! You have it!
It’s good to remind oneself occasionally that despite the best of training, how we speak may well show up on paper–or online as a blog, e-mail, or document. Colloquialisms in moderation can lend authenticity to dialogue, but grammatical errors in the narrrative show nothing but ignorance. If you know you need the cure, take it!