July 27, 2015

Titles of Works: Quote Marks or Itals?

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A minor point, yet one of the questions I get most: Do you put book, movie, etc., titles in quotation marks or italics? The answer is it depends mostly on style. Here are the guidelines you can follow.

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A Reminder About 'And Me'
Posted by June on July 27, 2015
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I have a friend to whom I’ve explained several times (she asked) when to use “and I” and when to use “and me.” She’s a smart friend. Think: high school valedictorian. Yet she still gets it wrong a lot. So for everyone who has trouble remembering the rules, here’s a reminder on “and I.”

If you want to be grammatically correct, “and I” should never be used as the object of a verb or a preposition. (If you want to be less formal, “and I” is defended by some as idiomatic in object uses.)

An easy way to get this right is to try dropping the other person. Consider:

I’m so glad you came to visit Penny and I/me.

Now try dropping Penny.

I'm so glad you came to visit I/me.

A no-brainer, right? It's me.

The grammar shows why: The verb is visit. The people following the verb -- Penny and you -- are the object of that verb. The pronoun "me" is an object. The pronoun "I" is a subject. So as the object of the verb "visit," you want “Penny and me.”

You could also try plugging in the subject pronoun “we” and the object pronoun “us.” Would you say “I’m so glad you came to visit we” or “I’m so glad you came to visit us”?

It’s "us," no question. And because “us” is an object form, that’s your clue that you want an object here: “Penny and me.”

Another one:

We tried ballroom dancing, but we learned really fast that’s not for Stan and I/me.

Here a preposition, “for,” is calling the shots. The noun phrase that follows is the object of the preposition, so it has to be in object form: “It’s not for Stan and me.” The litmus test again proves it: “It’s not for I/m.” It’s clear that “I” just doesn’t work here. “Me,” the object pronoun, does. So you want the object form: Stan and me.

Another:

I know you think that Larry and I/me were lying when we said we couldn’t attend.

Don’t let the verb “think” fool you. What we have here is not an object. It’s a subject. “Larry and I were lying.” Why? Because it’s performing the action in the verb “were lying” and also because the word “that” before it renders the whole noun phrase not an object but a subordinate clause. Clauses need subjects -- subjects like "Larry and I."

So just remember: “Me” and “us” are objects. “I” and “we” are subjects. Whenever “I” sounds wrong on its own, that's your clue that it's wrong with another person, too.

June Casagrande is a writer and journalist whose weekly grammar/humor column, “A Word, Please,” appears in community newspapers in California, Florida, and Texas. more

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