Attempt at sophistication leads to grammar errors

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Two words that are routinely misused when the speaker/writer is trying to sound proper and sophisticated are “myself” and “whom.”

 

Myself

I don’t know, but I suspect the problem with “myself” has something to do Hmmm... which word is correct?with people trying to avoid saying “I” or “me.” Or, it could just be that "myself" sound more professional and sophisticated to some ears.

Whatever the reason, they use it far more often than they should – and in places where it doesn’t belong.

“Myself” is a reflexive pronoun. It’s always an object word, and when used properly it always refers back to the speaker/writer.

For instance:

  • “Speaking for myself, …”
  • “I went shopping by myself.”
  • “I often remind myself that …”

Unfortunately, some who are trying to sound proper say cringe-worthy things such as:

  • “If you have questions, please call Jim or myself.”
  • “Mary and myself will be available…”
  • Even worse: “Myself and my friends stood out in the rain…” (This one, written by a 4th grade teacher, appeared in our local letters to the editor.)

This one is easy…

First, remember that you only use “myself” when you’re referring back to yourself. Then remember that “myself” is never, ever a subject word.

But if that doesn’t work, use the same rule that you’d use when deciding between I and me. Take the other person out of the sentence and see what word you’d use.

I seriously doubt that you’d say: “Myself will be available…,” (Unless you teach 4th grade in this small town), or “Please call myself.” You also wouldn’t say “Me hopes you’ll call soon,” Or “Please ask for I when you get here.”

 

Whom

Whom has always given me a bad time. I believe that whether grammar is easy or difficult all comes back to the words we heard as children. I was fortunate in that for the most part, my family used good grammar.

However, not with regard to the word “whom.” I can’t recall ever hearing it used, although it might have been. As a result, I never learned the proper use.

The rule is: Who is a subject word; whom is an object word.

I know it’s an object, but unless it is the direct object of a preposition, and especially if it is in an inverted sentence, I begin questioning myself.

To make it easier, I just ran across another rule that might help.

He = subject = who

Him = object = whom

For example:

Who/whom drove the car? He drove the car – so “who” is correct.

Who/whom should I vote for? Should I vote for him? “Whom” is correct.

 

If that’s all just too confusing, you could use the solution I use…

When I can’t decide which word is proper, I simply find another way to write the sentence and avoid the issue entirely.

 

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 


Comments (55)

Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jane Peters When I was growing up, I probably never heard the word "data" used at all. It might have come up in some class - but certainly not in everyday langage.

Yourself is a fun lady, Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker.

Nov 17, 2020 08:59 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker

Me thanks myself every day Marte as youself should too.......  LOL

Nov 17, 2020 09:08 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Paddy Deighan JD PhD I don't know if there are professional news people any more. Could be just anyone who can use a keyboard spouting whatever they think.

What startles me is when I see typos in books published by well-known publishing houses. I know they have editors and proofreaders. Just goes to show that even the pros can miss something now and then. That, by the way, makes me feel a little better about the typos I miss!

 

Nov 17, 2020 09:05 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Janna Scharf I have no trouble telling a subject from an object - until I get to an inverted sentence with a who or whom in it. Then I'm lost.

Your peeves and mine match up perfectly. What makes people use an apostophe for a plural? I see it all the tme. Nope - they didn't pay any attention - or maybe they had lousy teachers.

Wayne Johnson I thank you sir!

Nov 17, 2020 09:09 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Karen Rice It sure is hard to bite your tongue when you hear that. My old neighbor, who was a "vocabulary snob" always said he had to get home to "Fix dinner for Hazel and I." I didn't say anything, but ...

Joseph Domino 480-390-6011 Thanks - I'm glad to help.

 

Nov 17, 2020 09:12 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sara Bertomen I agree. It sound that way to me too. So if I think it's proper to use whom, I just re-write the sentence and eliminate the problem.

Susan McCall - - Compass Realty Solutions Thanks - I'm always glad to cause a chuckle.

 

Nov 17, 2020 09:15 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Richard V. Foster, Esq. You are - but it doesn't stop there. How about your/you're and hear/here? Or worse: are / our. I cannot for the life of me figure out how people get those two mixed up.

Nov 17, 2020 09:17 PM
Damon Botticelli
Silver State Realty & Investments - Las Vegas, NV
Realtor - Las Vegas Real Estate

"Allow myself to introduce ....myself."

-Austin Powers

Nov 17, 2020 11:01 PM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Thanks for sharing Marte!

When I can’t decide which word is proper, I simply find another way to write the sentence and avoid the issue entirely.

Nov 18, 2020 04:14 AM
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

Thanks for the quick lesson. My teacher wife loves/hates to check my newsletters for this very reason!

Nov 18, 2020 06:34 AM
Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Marte:

Me, myself and I really liked your post.  My mother was an english teacher and proper grammer was a condition for harmony in the houshold. 

 

Nov 18, 2020 07:29 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

I have now confused myself. <= correct

You can always use Grammerly to help that works too.

Nov 18, 2020 08:41 AM
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Thanks so much for sharing this, Marte Cliff. This is certainly useful information! As you and others already commented, when I'm not sure which word is proper I simply write it a different way. Problem solved!

Nov 18, 2020 09:47 AM
Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Denver Broker / Real Estate Advocate

Ahh, great Grammar Class, ...  it never hurts to get it right the first time ... the 3 of us, me, myself, and I,  are very grateful for your explanations.

Nov 18, 2020 01:39 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Damon Botticelli That is - strange.

Sham Reddy CRS Thanks for reading.

 

Nov 18, 2020 02:49 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Erik Hiss You're lucky to have her - but I guess you know that.

Brian Rugg Good for your mom!

 

Nov 18, 2020 02:51 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Lyn Sims Yes, a lot of people like Grammarly. I can't use it because it runs all the time and eats up my data allotment. (Hughes Net)

Greg Mona That is always my go-to solution.

Dan Hopper Thank you - and I am grateful to you for reading what I write.

Nov 18, 2020 02:53 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA
ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN

There are so many ways to speak and/or write incorrectly. It may seem like no big deal but observant listeners and readers will know when a mistake is made and the message being conveyed then looses some of its significance.

Nov 18, 2020 03:57 PM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

I enjoyed this post very much! My mother was a high school English teacher. Growing up the whole world stopped if I made a grammar mistake! I am a math major, and still struggle with grammar 

Nov 18, 2020 04:45 PM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

On a lighter note I have a  favorite quote using whom! The Investigation Discovery Channel has a great show with Lt. Joe Kenda a former Colorado Springs detective. He tells his men " don't worry about the bullet with your name on it, worry about the one that saysto whom it may concern!"

Nov 18, 2020 04:55 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Marte Cliff ,

Glad to see your post featured.  A great tutorial and yes if I can't decide if its right the one thing I've learned to do is rewrite the sentence in a different way!

Nov 19, 2020 06:58 AM