Uncategorized

Predicting the Predicate

Let’s solve the burning problem of how you should answer the phone if, in fact, you ever find yourself talking on it; more likely, while reading this blog, you’re texting someone, watching TV, and getting ready to go out, as you have now memorized some of my grammar exercises and can confidently engage in grammatically scintillating conversation. Still, before venturing into the night, you might ask yourself, “Should I answer the phone with This is her/him OR This is s/he? The answer to this question, as you can surmise, is This is s/he — and this is why:

When you have a subject and the verb to be, the word after the verb can be a predicate nominative (noun) or a predicate adjective. Predicate means verb, so a predicate nominative is a noun or pronoun following a linking verb and renaming, identifying, or explaining the sentence’s subject; a predicate adjective is an adjective following a linking verb and describing the sentence’s subject. Basically, a linking verb is a non-action verb linking the sentence’s subject with the adjective or noun following the verb (predicate). Some linking verbs include to be, to grow, to sound, to remain, to become, to seem, to stay, to act, to feel, and to appear. (Note: Some of these verbs can be action verbs, too.)

The girl was she (was links she to the girlshe is a predicate nominative that renames the subject of the sentence, so she must be in the subjective case).

grow (no action) sad when I see him. Notice that grow is like became; if I were to write “She grew the plants,” then grew is an action verb and plants is a direct object. Substitute a pronoun for plants: She grew them (not they).

They felt (non-action verb) funny about the matter. Funny renames they. They felt (action verb) the carpet. Carpet is a direct object.

She sounded (non-action verb) angry. In fact, substitute all of the verbs above for sounded in this sentence. Here, angry is a predicate adjective, which describes she.

We feel bad (not badly) that we can’t come.

In the case of This is she, the subject of the sentence is This; the verb is is; and the noun, pronoun, or adjective following the to be verb essentially renames the subject, so that word needs to be in the subjective case: I, you, he, she, it, we, you (plural), they. Do you remember the objective case? (Me, you, him, her, it, us, you [plural], them). We don’t want to use the objective case here, as the sentence requires that we use a direct object or indirect object, for example — and linking verbs don’t use the objective case because there’s no action.

The robbers were they. Just invert the sentence to check yourself: They were the robbersThey renames robbers, so we use the subjective case.

While I certainly don’t expect that you use this particular grammar point in conversation, I highly suggest you absorb my teachings and, as alluded to above, feel free to inject them into your conversation at a cocktail party: Doing so will undoubtedly make you the belle or beau of the ball…maybe.

From (This is I signing off),
My English Quarters
http://www.beltstyles.com
Hallie Belt, M.A. and B.A., English
312.285.8429

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Indebted to Grammar

One night, I watched Suze Orman on TV, and while she knows a great deal about money, I wonder what’s up with her grammar. Most likely, no one else was wondering the same thing.

I recall having written about a famous, beautiful actress who constantly misspells our name and needs a little grammar help herself: She uses I when she should use me — as in between her and I. You’d say between us, not between we, right?

Use the object of the preposition here, which is between: Objective pronouns include me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them.

Don’t go on TV, look all beautiful, and then spout grammatically incorrect sentences.

I wrote these two famous women, asking them to (pretty please) add an “i before e” in the spelling of their names but received no answer, so I have resigned myself to calling them Hal and Sooze behind their backs.

Names aside, I believe Sooze could use a little subject-verb agreement lesson, while she calls us “Girlfriend” and tells us what to do financially. I listened closely because I kept hearing her subject-verb disagreement. Should I have called the TV host? I will instead resort to correcting her here. “Sooze, please correct your subject-verb agreement. Even though I realize you can’t see these sentences because you are on TV, they are not unlike the ones you used that night, now burned into my memory”:

“The credit card problems of that American is overwhelming, and I urge him to take my advice.” The word problems is the subject, so the verb should be are: Don’t look at the word American, as it’s the object of the preposition of.

“You never withdraw cash from your credit cards to pay for your mortgage. Doing so is stupid, and those Americans who truly want to eliminate their debt has a huge problem.” Americans is the subject — you thought debt was — so the verb is have.

Now, Hal and Sooze, I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do:

Think before you speak. Make sure about your use of the subject of your sentence agrees with the verb. Don’t look at the word that is closest to the verb and think that that word is the decision maker. Find the subject of the sentence.

Get some cue cards or teleprompters.

Hire me to fix what’s on them.

Pretty please, with a cherry on top, add an i to your name, especially you, Hal. I really appreciate that you’re famous, as now almost everybody knows how to say my (our) name, but if you could help me get everybody on board with how to spell our name, that would really help me out.

From,
My English Quarters
http://www.beltstyles.com
Hallie Belt, M.A. and B.A., English
312.285.8429

Uncategorized

First Responder Channel Changer

The other night, a well-known actress who has written yet another book was on TV. Isn’t it funny (no) how everyone is an author now? Well, I’m staging an intervention, as I’d like her to enter a grammar treatment program as soon as possible:

Well-Known Actress: “Mary, Jenny, and myself are funded by that program…”

HB [holding her ears and shaking her head]: Aaagh!

Were W-KA to delete Mary and Jenny from her sentence, she would have said, “Myself are [is/am?] funded by that program.”

W-KA should have used a subjective pronoun, not a reflexive pronoun.

Subjective Pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, you (plural), they

W-KA should have said, “Mary, Jenny, and I are funded by that program.”

The structure or idea is this: Leave out the other people, and say the sentence: “I am funded by that program.”

While I commend A-KA for her literary ambition, her misuse of the reflexive, coupled with her sentence structure breakdown, initially caused me to turn the channel and then pull the plug.

From,
My English Quarters
Hallie Belt, M.A. and B.A., English
312.285.8429
Comedy, English language, Grammar, Uncategorized

Reflecting on the Reflexive: The Sequel

Why do people say, “John and me went to English class” or “I seen him at the place”?

I can only guess that they think the use of “myself” and “I” sounds proper. If we were to delete “John” from the former sentence, then the sentence would read “Me went to English class,” but we need the subjective (subject) form of the pronoun here: “I”.

The subjective pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they.

The same goes for “John and myself went to English class.” Delete “John” and read the sentence. You wouldn’t say “Myself went to English class.” Not only does it sound weird, but you wouldn’t use a reflexive pronoun where a subject (subjective) pronoun should be. So the sentence should be this: “John and I went to English class.” Delete John, and you get “I went to English class.” “I” is the subject form of the pronoun, a subjective pronoun.

The [indirect/direct] object (objective) pronouns are me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them.

I’ve heard people say, “He gave both myself and Jerry the money” or “He gave the money to John and I.” Remember to delete the other person(s) from the sentence. Here you would use an object (objective) pronoun because the word is the indirect object or the object of the preposition of the verb “gave”: He gave both me [indirect object] and Jerry the letter [direct object]” or He gave the letter to John and me [object of the preposition “to”].”

The reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves.

You do something to yourself. For example, “I gave myself a manicure. I hurt myself yesterday when I went bowling. They found themselves in the same place.” Would you say “He gave myself the money”? It should be “He gave himself the money.”

I don’t know why people say “I seen him.” “Seen, been, given, done” are past participle forms and require that “have” or “has” accompany them on most occasions.

From,
My English Quarters
Hallie Belt, M.A. and B.A., English
312.285.8429

    

Uncategorized

Nuff Said

Okay, we all know about sidewalk etiquette, right? Sidewalk etiquette is very important because it translates into other behaviors that could serve us very well in modern life, if, in fact, everybody were to comply with these apparently little-known rules of gracious behavior.

Learning sidewalk etiquette is easy: Stay on the right side (at least in the U.S.) and look up once in a while to see if another person is coming your way. Sidewalk etiquette translates into “Stay on your own side, be aware of your surroundings, act accordingly, and I won’t have to blog about your behavior.”

So, like the fact that I don’t want to be bumped into 20 times as I walk down the sidewalk, a related point of contention in my world these days is the women in the locker room at my gym. They spread their clothes all over the bench, where the locker I use happens to be, and somehow remain unaware of my presence, even though I have just walked up, opened the locker door, and might not smell as pretty as usual. Why? Yes, you know the answer: Their phone.

A guy friend suggested I do what he claims other guys would do: “Hallie, just throw their stuff on the floor.” That’s a fast, sensible idea, one that will not go over well with women, and I might have to face this woman (these women) again. I usually say something passive-aggressive like, “I’d like to sit down” or “I’m going to move this over because I need to sit down.”

One woman, whose eyes remained glued to her phone, moved her stuff closer to her by about one inch. I almost laughed. Problem solved: Next time I will.

From,

My English Quarters

http://www.beltstyles.com
Hallie Belt, M.A. and B.A., English
312.285.8429