Thursday, April 17, 2008

English!!! What a language!

As my previous blog indicates, the misuse of the apostrophe is one of my pet peeves. I am adding the misuse of lie and lay and also object pronouns.

A sixth grade English teacher gave me the following little "tests":

Mary is going with John and [I or me].
I am traveling with [him or he] and Susie.
I received many [present’s or presents] for my birthday.
The [Smiths or Smith’s] live next door to Jane.
This is the [Smiths or Smith’s or Smiths’] house.
I am going to [lie or lay] down.
I [laid or lay] on the sofa yesterday.
I have [lain or laid] on the sofa almost everyday.
I will [lie or lay] the book on the table.
I have [lain or laid] the book on the table.

Before checking your answer, let’s review elementary English:

Object pronouns are used as the objects of prepositions or as direct objects. I, you, he, she, it, we, they are subject pronouns. Me, you, him, her, it, us, them are object pronouns.

Never use an apostrophe to form a plural. In the English language a plural is formed by adding s or es. The apostrophe is used to form a contraction or to indicate possession.

The proper use of lie [to rest or recline and not to be confused with lie meaning to tell a falsehood] and lay [to put or place something or someone] seems to baffle many people.

Lie, lay, [have or had] lain—rest, rested, [have or had] rested
Lay, laid, [have or had] laid—place, placed, [have or had] placed
And neither is to be confused with:
Lie, lied, [have or had] lied—fib, fibbed, [have or had] fibbed

Using the above as reference, go back over your responses then check them with the following correct answers:

Mary is going with John and me. [object of preposition]
I am traveling with him and Susie. [object of preposition]
I received many presents for my birthday. [plural]
The Smiths live next door to Jane. [plural]
This is the Smiths’ house. [The apostrophe is used to show that house is the possession of the entire Smith family. If there were only one Smith living in the house then Smith’s would be correct.]
I am going to lie down. [to rest or recline.]
I lay on the sofa yesterday. [rested or reclined.]
I have lain on the sofa almost every day. [have rested or reclined.]
I will lay the book on the table. [will place the book on the table]
I have laid the book on the table. [have placed the book on the table]

Easy? Confused? Are you as smart as a 6th grader?