Your Letters: Grammar Cops, Where's Scott?
SCOTT SIMON, host:
Time now for your letters.
We had a letter about last week's letters. I confessed to a grammatical mistake because I had said Dan and I rather than Dan and me. We got lots of notes complaining about my mistake. But this week, Ben Cooper of Minneapolis says I should have stood my ground. There are two kinds of grammarians, prescriptive and descriptive, he writes. The prescriptive kind, mostly rank amateurs like me, try to tell people how they ought to use the language. The descriptive kind confine themselves to describing and systematizing how folks actually speak.
For many years now, a large number of Americans have been using the subject I in compound objects just as you used it. There's little doubt that the origin of this usage lies in the nearly universal memory of being chastised for saying him and me were just playing. Take that, America.
On last week's story on the company in Tasmania that makes writing paper from scats - and I don't mean singing - of various Australian creatures from kangaroos to wombats, Joe Edgel(ph) of Takoma Park, Maryland, writes: I was rolling on the floor, and I might even buy their paper. Oh, but don't expect me to get it anywhere near my mouth.
Betty Dorko(ph) from Albuquerque (unintelligible) I've been running my mouth recently. She writes: Whatever happened to Scott Simon's essay right after Daniel Schorr's commentary? I really miss that.
Thanks for asking. In recent weeks, we've moved it to the first hour around the same time, where I made another error last week.
I characterized Mahatma Gandhi as a Cambridge-educated lawyer. In fact, he studied law at University College, London.
Send us your comments by e-mail; our Web site, NPR.org, and click on Contact Us. Or you can reach me at NPRScottSimon on Twitter. Please tell us where you live, and how to pronounce your name.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.