I understand totally that correcting anyone's lousy grammar these days
leaves a person open to being considered stuffy, stodgy and a bit of a high-brow. After all, if the listener understands what you're saying and knows what you mean, it's good enough, right?
Now I've been a Tim Tebow fan since his college football days at Florida. He is undoubtedly an admirable, respectable, respectful, clean-living role model, the likes of which we can only hope a few more professional athletes emulate. (Besides that, he beat the Steelers in the playoffs, and that is always a good thing.)
That being said, at his press conference at the Jets training facility
after the trade from Denver this spring, Tebow was asked the status of his relationship with Mark Sanchez, the starting quarterback whose spot on the field he would like to fill.
"Me and Mark have a great relationship," Tebow said.
What did you say, Tim?
"Me and Mark"? Really?
Is there anybody else out there, in addition to my colleagues who are also former English teachers, who cringes when a speaker starts a sentence with an objective pronoun such as "me"? Does anyone else automatically think less of a person who speaks that way and doesn't realize there is anything wrong with it?
Hey, Tim, on the day of your wedding when the pastor asks, "Do you take this woman to be your bride," are you going to answer, "Me does"? The same principle applies here, man.
But our fellow Tebow is, by no means, alone in desecrating the English language. A winning candidate in the recent Sioux Falls school board election, describing how he and his daughters kept track of the election returns by computer, boldly exclaimed, "Me and my girls hit 'refresh' every few seconds."
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari embarrassed himself the other day (though, I'm sure, he doesn't realize it and doesn't much care). Recalling his Memphis team's demise against Kansas in the 2008 national title game, he actually said aloud, "Everything that could have went wrong went wrong."
"Could have went"? Yes, friends, he actually uttered those words.
I'm not hinting here that people with athletic connections can't, don't or won't speak correctly, but here's another example that exploded out of the radio the other night.
The Twins' radio color guy, Dan Gladden, a former ballplayer, was describing a play where second-baseman Alexi Casilla bobbled a potential double-play ball at second base. I screamed aloud, and nobody except my dog Oliver heard me after Dan had the audacity to say aloud that Casilla's bobble "might have threw his timing off."
"Might have threw"?
The same day somebody passed along on the Facebook circuits a cartoon showing a man pointing his finger at his dog and saying, "Lay down." The dog had one of those thought bubbles over his head, and the pooch was saying, "It's 'lie down,' stupid."
There are those people who try to over-compensate for bad grammar by saying things that sound weird but which therefore must be correct, all the while thinking to themselves, "See! I can speak with correct grammar!" No, you can't. Example: The sports guy on the radio the other day who was comparing a pair of possible NFL draft picks as he explained "the difference between he and Trent Richardson." "Between he"? Does that really sound more correct than "between him and Richardson"?
Let's welcome Andrew Luck to our club today. You know him, the No. 1 pick in the recent NFL draft by the Colts, soon to be a Stanford graduate with a GPA in the clouds up above 3.90, an athlete who went to class, stayed four years, earned a degree. It's hard to criticize such a chap, so I will simply chide him gently for explaining why he shuns publicity and hates disruption to fellow students which his celebrity status sometimes causes. He said it this way: "I like to lay low."
Perhaps you do, lucky Mr. Luck, but you should have said, "I like to lie low." Oh, well. Enjoy your millions and good luck (no pun intended) in filling Peyton Manning's shoes.
Me doesn't have the energy or space to pursue this topic further, but us can continue it some other day when me and you get together on these pages. Meanwhile, I think I'll go lay down.
Honestly it makes me nauseous just to type that previous paragraph. If you don't immediately realize four reasons why, there is no point in our continuing this conversation.