General Fiction posted February 6, 2021


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Who Is Afraid of Me?

by w.j.debi


"...and when you have finished the report, please send a copy to John, Jill, and I."

I cover my mouth with my hand to hide my grin.

In business meetings during the last decade, I've noticed that the word me seems to frighten even executives with double MBA's. They can easily say, "Send the report to me," but add another person and suddenly the word changes to I.

Why?

When our grade school teachers constantly corrected, "Me and Johnny saw ____," to "Johnny and I saw ____," did we only partially understand? Did we grasp that if we are included in a list, the polite thing to do is to put ourselves at the end, but somehow miss the usage of I when the pronoun is a subject and me when it is an object in a sentence? I'm sure, "Give them to Johnny and me," was taught, but what most people seem to remember is, "Johnny and I ... Johnny and I ... Johnny and ..."

At first, I thought it might be a regional issue, but I've participated in meetings with managers from the east coast to the west coast and have heard them all use this same verbiage, hundreds of times.

Maybe, MBA courses need to add a hint from my eighth-grade English teacher. Say the sentence with just yourself in it? Does it sound right to say, "Send it to I?" or "Send it to me?" The pronoun doesn't change when you add other people to the list.

Then again, I get such amusement in nearly every meeting I attend to hear someone say, "Send it to Bob and I." Leave this business idiosyncrasy as is. It gives me (or should I say I?) something to smile about on a hard day.



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