Saturday, September 3, 2011

Two Niggling Questions Answered By OED

Between you and me or you and I?

A common mistake in spoken English is to say ‘between you and I’, as in this sentence:

X It’s a tiny bit boring, between you and I.

In standard English, it’s grammatically correct to say ‘between you and me’ and incorrect to say ‘between you and I’. The reason for this is that a preposition such as between should be followed by an objective pronoun (such as me, him, her, and us) rather than a subjective pronoun (such as I, he, she, and we). Saying ‘between you and I’ is grammatically equivalent to saying ‘between him and she’, or ‘between we’, which are both clearly wrong.

People make this mistake because they know it’s not correct to say, for example, ‘John and me went to the shops’. They know that the correct sentence would be ‘John and I went to the shops’. But they then mistakenly assume that the words ‘and me’ should be replaced by ‘and I’ in all cases.

Remember: the correct expression is ‘between you and me’:

√ It’s a tiny bit boring, between you and me.

Bored by, of, or with?

Which of these expressions should you use: is one of them less acceptable than the others?
Do you ever get bored with eating out all the time?

Delegates were bored by the lectures.

He grew bored of his day job.

The first two constructions, bored with and bored by, are the standard ones. The third, bored of, is more recent than the other two and it’s become extremely common. In fact, the Oxford English Corpus contains almost twice as many instances of bored of than bored by. It represents a perfectly logical development of the language, and was probably formed on the pattern of expressions such as tired of or weary of. Nevertheless, some people dislike it and it’s not fully accepted in standard English. It’s best to avoid using it in formal writing.


On this day in 1802, (Insert your guess here)completed the sonnet, "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge," one of his best known short poems.

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty;
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

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