Saturday, January 05, 2008

Recalling a Bill Buckley story

An Anon commenter noted I’d said in a recent post “my wife and me” where I should have said “my wife and I.”

I made the correction and thanked the Anon.

Subsequently commenter BAW said:

Had to laugh at " wife and ME", not "and I."

My mother was a teacher. French and Spanish but she also taught English (and Math...long story) and there were a few common mistakes she always corrected. May/can, good/well, color/shade but the one that really got her going was me/I.

At one time, most people mistakenly used "you and me" all the time so teachers corrected them until people started using "you and I" all the time. Mother would rail, "Even preacher's now say, He died for you and I!" …

It does seem that we as a society consistently overcompensate for a mistake and swing all the way to the opposite extreme.
BAW’s comment reminded me of one of my favorite Bill Buckley stories.

During the 70s a woman member of congress wanted to do away with the traditional usages of “congressman” and “congresswoman.” She favored the gender-neutral “congressperson.”

Buckley didn’t favor her proposal but said he was willing to consider supporting it once the congresswoman, Elizabeth Holtzman, changed her name to Holtzperson.


BAW said...

Isn't that the way the best conversations go? One favorite story leads to another.

Ralph Phelan said...

There's a better nonsexist term available:
Congressthief (pl. Congressthieves).