Skip to main content

Grammar Tip: I Vs. Me, Who Vs. Whom, and Starting a Sentence With So

My reader, Monica Borden yesterday enquired through a comment:
I've been a subscriber for just a few weeks, and have not taken the time to read through your archives. Would you know off the top of your head if you have a post or posts that address the use of "who vs. whom" and "She and I" and when you can use "me" instead of "I" when referring to oneself? I am also interested in knowing what words are improper to begin a sentence with. I see writers beginning sentences with: So... and my gut tells me you should not do that, is that correct?
I will give clarifications on those aspects of grammar in this post.

I Vs. Me

I will address this first. As you said Monica, there is a post in the archives addressing this: Some English Errors to Avoid. By the way, Monica, you could have easily found this from archives, had you used the search feature.

You can read in this post quite a few other grammar aspects as well.

Who Vs. Whom

This is almost similar to I Vs. Me. Who should be used in questions where you ask who “did or does” a particular thing. Whom should be used in questions when you ask who “the thing was done to” (the object). Examples:

Who captured Ozama bin Laden?
Whom did Police catch?
For whom the bell tolls?


So, from this you know that ‘who’ should be used when you enquire about the subject. And whom should be used when enquiring about the object.

Other words that are similar to who vs. whom are I vs. me, he vs. him, she vs. her, and they vs. them. In all these, the first one refers to the subject and second to the object.

Wrong: Who do you love? (It should be ‘whom’ because ‘you’ are the subject, and whoever you love is the object).
Wrong: He is the one who I warned.
Right: I found him whom I lent money.
Right: Whoever beat you has to be found.
Right: Whomever you beat has to be found.

Though these guidelines point to perfect English, you can always encounter people using sentences as:

Who do you love?
It’s me here.


Starting a Sentence With So

Do you know that it’s actually just a myth “you should not start the sentence with so”? There are other myths, such as “you should not start sentence with and, but, so, because, etc.” This was followed in Old English, and is no longer followed in the Modern English.

You can pretty well start your sentences with any of these. Strict grammarians may tell you otherwise, but you can always find good writers starting their sentences with ‘so’. Examples:

Stephen King from Misery: So his feeling that she was like an idol in a perfervid novel was not really surprising at all.
Thomas Harris from Hannibal: So there's no warrant and no warrant forthcoming.
Salman Rushdie from Midnight's Children: So let me conclude with the uncorroborated rumour that the boatman Tai, who recovered from his scrofulous infection soon after my grandfather left Kashmir, did not die until 1947

Ernest Hemingway, famous American novelist, was accustomed to starting his sentences with 'and' or 'but'. So, just use what you are comfortable with and come up with your own unique style. Remember what SF writer Isaac Asimov said: “A good writer can break any rule.”

AskOxford Links:

I Vs. Me
Who Vs. Whom
Writing Myths

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

Comments

  1. I'm not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading very slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?
    I'll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.


    Feel free to surf to my site divorce tactics tactics divorce attorneys use - -

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated very strictly

Popular posts from this blog

En Dash, Em Dash, and Hyphen

We have three types of dashes in use: The hyphen, En Dash, and the Em Dash. In this post, we will see how to use them all correctly. Hyphen (-) The hyphen is the minus key in Windows-based keyboards. This is a widely used punctuation mark. Hyphen should not be mistaken for a dash . Dash is different and has different function than a hyphen. A hyphen is used to separate the words in a compound adjective, verb, or adverb. For instance: The T-rex has a movement-based vision. My blog is blogger-powered. John’s idea was pooh-poohed. The hyphen can be used generally for all kinds of wordbreaks . En Dash (–) En Dash gets its name from its length. It is one ‘N’ long (En is a typographical unit that is almost as wide as 'N'). En Dash is used to express a range of values or a distance: People of age 55–80 are more prone to hypertension. Delhi–Sidney flight was late by three hours. In MS Word, you can put an En Dash either from the menu, clicking Insert->Symbol or by the k

4 Effective Ways to Write About a Boring Topic

  With the plethora of interesting topics to write about, you’re fortunate enough to get the “boring” one. While it can be a pain for many writers to wind up with such a task, I’m telling you now there are ways to make yours more interesting than it is. So if you find yourself stuck with the dreariest topic to fill in a blog about, don’t fret. Here are the four best ways to unburden yourself. 1. Never a boring topic, only a boring writer. Here’s the hard fact: It’s never about the topic being boring. It’s about the writer making it boring. For instance, you’re supposed to write about aquariums. I know, how can you continuously make this topic interesting, right? Well, you’d be surprised just in how many ways you can make it an enticing read. Start by listing down the basic “what”, “where”, “when” and “how” surrounding the topic. You can ask (and research) about “What material was first used to make aquariums?” or even “How the first aquarium was built?” or “What are

5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Writing

As writers, we’re always pushing the envelope to express ourselves better than we did before. However there are times when we plateau, when our writing just doesn’t feel natural. Worse yet, there are times when we can’t get a good paragraph out. Those are times when we start thinking about pushing ourselves and our writing. When you need to tweak and boost your writing up a notch, it’s always good to try something constructive.  For those who could use a couple of tips, here are a few that are sure to help improve your writing and keep it from going stale. 1.Imitate Different Authors If you read other writers for inspiration, why not actively imitate their writing? Once you walk in another writer’s shoes for a bit, writing as they write, you get an idea on how to approach writing about things in ways you normally wouldn’t.  Moreover, it will force you to pay attention to what makes someone else’s writing style unique which, in turn, will help you find ways to make your