1
   

correct choice of pronoun

 
 
Always Eleven to him
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 09:36 pm
@Roberta,
And I am the Bryan Garner disciple. Oh, and why avoid passive? To avoid ambiguity. By myself can mean I wrote it, or it can mean I wrote it without help. Why have the reader scratch his or her head when you can be clear?
tanguatlay
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 10:55 pm
@JTT,
Hi JTT

The piece, written by myself, was a fairy play in three acts.

Would you use 'myself' or 'me'?

Thanks.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 08:15 am
@Always Eleven to him,
Quote:
But I must admit that I was rather disappointed with the new chapter on grammar and usage in the fifteenth edition.

[written by, none other than Bryan Garner, oops a passive.]

In theory it sounded like a great addition. However, when I recieved my copy and started flipping through it, I quickly realized that the new chapter was marginally helpful at best and outright incorrect at worst, though most of it settled comfortably on the middle ground of merely useless.

http://www.arrantpedantry.com/2007/01/02/editing-chicago/


0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 09:54 am
@Always Eleven to him,
Quote:
AEtH wrote: Oh, and why avoid passive? To avoid ambiguity. By myself can mean I wrote it, or it can mean I wrote it without help. Why have the reader scratch his or her head when you can be clear?


I'm unclear how using the active voice would have any affect on this "ambiguity", AEtH and how the passive has much of anything to do with using 'me' or 'myself'.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 10:09 am
@tanguatlay,
Quote:
Hi JTT

The piece, written by myself, was a fairy play in three acts.

Would you use 'myself' or 'me'?


That would depend on a number of factors, Ms Tan, some probably that I can't even describe. There are a number of reasons for word choice, the most obvious is register, which basically is a reflection of formality/casualness.

I believe that I have mentioned before that the rules for writing differ from those of speech. Even within speech we have multiple layers of formality and so it goes with writing. You can see the differences even here at A2K where some postings reflect a very casual writing style and others are more formal.

JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 04:04 pm
@JTT,
Quote:
... some probably that I can't even describe.


Not "probably", definitely.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 10:47 am
@Always Eleven to him,
Quote:
Oh, and why avoid passive? To avoid ambiguity.


I think that you're conflating two ideas from your grammar school days, AEtH. Can the passive cause ambiguity? Of course it can but it doesn't always and ambiguity, like so many other feelings/emotions, is, sometimes, precisely what a writer/speaker wants to portray.

What is language after all, but a medium that we use, and need to convey myriad nuances. The main job of modal verbs is to express ambiguity, doubt, indecision, ... .

Teachers who had no knowledge of the grammar of English were fond of emphasizing empty platitudes. How else could these things have
perpetuated themselves for so many centuries?

[I could just as easily have used a passive construction for the last sentence]

Quote:
By myself can mean I wrote it, or it can mean I wrote it without help. Why have the reader scratch his or her head when you can be clear?


Virtually every collocation/lexical bundle/question/response used in English can have different, sometimes opposite meanings.

'yeah, right'/'unhuh' are two examples that can be negatives or emphatic positives.

Language doesn't operate in semantic vacuums. Noting that confusion can exist is an old trick that comes from teachers hoping to forestall any real questions from students about language.
The piece, written by myself, was a fairy play in three acts.
0 Replies
 
 

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