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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

“This is she” vs. “This is her”

A common example is the phrase “This is she.” used to answer a telephone. ‘She’ is the nominative form of the word, so it cannot be used to describe somebody who is the object of a sentence (in this example, ‘this’ would be the subject). The correct way to phrase the example would be “This is her.”, though most people prefer the familiar businesslike shorthand “Speaking.”

See suite101.com.

From another site, this was the response:

“This is she” is grammatically correct. The verb “to be” acts as a linking verb, equating subject and object. So this is she and she is this; “she” and “this” are one and the same, interchangeable, and to be truly interchangeable they must both play the same grammatical role—that of the subject.

See press.uchicago.edu

I am quite confused! I believe “This is her” is correct because it is understood that “speaking” is simply omitted; thus, we know the speaker is implying “This is her speaking” when she answers “This is her.” After all, we ask to speak to her. When she answers that she’s the one who had answered the call, she’s (obviously) speaking at the time. Therefore, it is her speaking.

What is your opinion on the matter?

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Comments

What an interesting discussion! I have had so much fun reading individual's attempts at correcting others while making egregious mistakes themselves. I am with Umop and prefer to restrict myself to the question at hand. "Is Zai there?" . . ."Yes, speaking." However, I was taught "This is she" as the correct response so to me "This is her" sounds funny. For the record, English is my second language.

What is most revealing is our never ending compulsion to gauge and judge others by their use of language. (This thread being a fine example of that) I personally tend to side with the "purists", however that does not make me a snob, just a person who takes pride in being well-spoken. Furthermore, when addressing oneself to others it is ones TONE, above their use of language, which reveals any snobbery.

Yes, it "hurts" my ears to hear "Me and my friend . . ." and the like (BTW, John is right when he writes that countless Americans make this mistake) but I refuse to value that for anything more than a common grammatical error; although I will not tolerate it in my household.

So I am left with defending the rules of proper English usage when appropriate and certainly not in a derogatory manner. All the while understanding that language is not static and that the noblest example of an "educated person" is the sincere grace with which they interact with others, even when their use of language is "wrong."

Humbly.
A Communications Professional

P.S. Thanks to John for his insight!

Zai Feb-24-2009

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Vile proscriptionist grammarian humbuggary I vanquish thee! Choke on my syntactical ambiguity! If I wished to speak with SHE I wouldn't have asked for HER by name! And long live exclamation points!!! Huzzah The Bottom Line!!

Goffers Feb-26-2009

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This discussion takes me back to before middle school, so many moons ago, to my dad's correcting me over and over about the way I answered the telephone. To my young southern ears, it sounded SO wrong to say, "This is she," that it couldn't possibly be right!

Eventually I learned to hear, "This is she," as correct, and later still, I learned the grammatical rules behind its correctness. But still I remember my young ears in their innocence and ignorance, their egocentricity, and that memory keeps me humble.

Jo_Hawke Feb-26-2009

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I'm not a native speaker of English,but I am an English teacher and I'm currently applying for a job in British schools. If a head teacher ring me to ask me for an interview, then what do I say when they ask for me? You all disagree on what is correct, so maybe you can just tell me what is the normal thing to say? what will this head teacher expect me to say in a formal job interview setting? (Without me sounding too posh, because I'm not). This is her or this is she?

Siv Mar-24-2009

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THIS IS SHE!

Kay2 Apr-08-2009

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Isn't it the difference between common language and the proper gramma language as thought in the TOEFL.?

"This is her" would mean This belong to her.
"This is she" would mean that we talk about the actual person and not about something, which belong to that person.

peter3 Apr-11-2009

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"This is hers" would mean that the item belongs to her, not "this is her."

Jo_Hawke Apr-11-2009

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Yes you are right, but steel I belive that, "this is she" is a proper form.
The "this is her" is closer in meaning to "this is hers" or "this is her something" than to "this is she"
The same way as people commonly say "it's me" although gramatically correct should be, "It is I" Although my english teacher told mi that if I answer like that people wold think there is Shekspir on the other side of the door.

But ok, English is not my mother tonque so I shut up.

peter3 Apr-11-2009

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It's "This is she." Here's why:

The 'is' is like an equal sign in this instance, because sentences like this, "is" shows the state-of-being relationship between the two ideas. "She" is identifying herself in this sentence. 'This' and 'she' are the same thing, and therefore are in the same case (the nominative). It has the exact same structure as "I am an English teacher." "I" and "an English teacher" are both nouns, and both in the nominative case, and are both the subject of the sentence, although in English you can't really reverse them and say "An English teacher am I." Unless you're Yoda.

Someone earlier talked about "This is her" as being possessive. That's correct, in a sense. To say "This is her" you must add an object to the sentence, as in "This is her ball."

You cannot correctly say "This is her speaking," because speaking is not a noun, and therefore cannot be an object. You *could* say "This is her ball," because "ball" is a noun and can be an object. But she OWNS the ball, which is an object.

lstrauss May-27-2009

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What is most revealing is our never ending compulsion to gauge and judge others by their use of language.

Well, what is it you think it reveals?  (And why is it that you think it is a compulsion?)

Language is a representation of thought.  Poorly formed language indicates poorly formed thought.  True, sometimes that apparent indication mistakenly apprehended, such as when the language is not the native language of the speaker.

We use all manner of indicators to evaluate the people around us in a variety of categories.  This is not necessarily snobbery; it might merely be developing a “profile” of the person so as to choose a communication style that will be best received—I speak differently to teenagers and pentegenarians.

Equally proper, but equally poorly received is “It is I,” rather than that which most would say, “It is me.”  Yet, “It is I” is the proper statement of the two.

brian.wren.ctr May-27-2009

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"Language is a representation of thought. Poorly formed language indicates poorly formed thought."

Depends what you mean by poorly formed language. If "it is me" is poorly formed, and if poorly formed language indicates poorly formed thought (whatever "poorly formed thought" means), then we have to conclude that many native speakers are guilty of poorly formed thought every time they speak - because they are not adhering to a certain linguistic norm. But this is ridiculous. There are situations where "it is me" is appropriate and there are situations where "it is I" is appropriate. It makes no sense to judge one dialect or register by the standards of another dialect or register.

But of course we *do* judge one dialect or register by the standards of another dialect or register whenever we say that so-and-so uses "bad grammar". This is a social issue, but it has nothing to do with the way language works.

John4 May-28-2009

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    I am perfectly willing to believe that “many native speakers are guilty of poorly formed thought every time they speak,” given the boneheadedness I witness every day all around me.  But when I said that, I was more addressing the question of why we think of these things—in general—rather than the specific case of “This is me“ v. “This is I.”  I would agree that that would be ridiculous—if that were the only criterion contemplated.  It is valid to at least contemplate grammar, though.

    There is no place where the proper answer to “Who is this?” is “It is me.”  The question requires a nominativce answer; “Me” is not nominative.  This just doesn’t happen to be a dialectual distinction.

    I guess I would say that the topic is broad enough to include both social and language issues. Each case would be distinctive, some more socially oriented, some more associated with grammar, dialect, etc.

brian.wren.ctr May-28-2009

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Of course there are situations where the proper answer to "who is this?" is "it is me." Both "it is I" and "it is me" are in reputable use. "It is me" is found in writing from the 1600s. "It is I" tends be used in more formal situations, and "it is me" in more informal writing and speechlike prose. (MWDEU pages 566-568) It seems to be a difference of register, not dialect. Yes, "me" is not nominative, but accusative pronouns can follow "be".

John4 May-28-2009

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    It’s not that I don’t believe—for I do.  But the reality that there are situations where “It is me” is readily accepted does nothing to establish that it is proper.    There are vast numbers who readily accept “I seen it,” or “I been there,” but this in no wise establishes either as a proper sentence under any circumstances.    It doesn’t surprise me that anyone can cite examples of its use.  But the question is whether it is proper, not whether there are this quantity or that of individuals who either do not know the difference, or who, knowing the difference, choose to use an improper sentence to use in a given circumstance.  I myself, knowing better, use improper grammar deliberately.  (For instance, I usually use “This is me” to keep from derailing the conversation at hand.)

brian.wren.ctr May-28-2009

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Again, you haven't provided any evidence that "it is me" is improper. I've cited a usage book (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage) saying that it is correct in informal English. If you have a usage book saying that "it is me" is improper English in every and all contexts, I'd like to know.

John4 May-28-2009

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I have provided evidence, evidence with which you even agree.   “I” is the nominative, “me” is not.   “It is I” is the proper response to situations requiring a nominative response, or when making a nominative declaration (eg, “Don’t be afraid: it is I”).   “It is me” is not nominative.
    Improper pronoun usage can be found all over the place (“Me and him went to the store,” “Us neighbors had a barbeque,” etc.), and people get the idea.   If those cases are used enough, dictionaries will start to cite them as common usage, so that people reading the dictionary will have explained to them what it is that they are looking up.   But that will not change the accurate statement that those pornouns are incorrect, just as using “me” as a noninative pronoun is.   My dictionary handles this case in the following fashion. “also used as a predicate complement with a linking verb, although the usage is objected to by some.”
    This does not, of course, contradict the fact that “me” is frequently used as if it were nominative.

brian.wren.ctr May-29-2009

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I agree that "I" is nominative and "me" is accusative. What I don't agree with is that the nominative must follow the verb "be". What is the evidence for this? Accusative pronouns have been used after "be" since the 1600s. Dictionaries and usage books recognize it as correct, at least in some contexts. My understanding is that the "rule" that "be" must be followed by the nominative is based on an analogy with Latin.

John4 May-29-2009

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"You cannot correctly say “This is her speaking,” because speaking is not a noun, and therefore cannot be an object."

"Speaking" is a noun if used as a gerund. It represents the act of speaking, and it is her action. However, even though this may be grammatically correct, I agree that this meaning is slightly different from what the speaker probably intends. I think the intention is that "this" equates to "she/her" (with "speaking", if included, being a present participle describing "she/her"). Therefore, it all comes back to whether an objective noun is appropriate on the trailing side of a linking verb.

I was taught in school that it is acceptable to violate rules of grammar if you do so knowingly to better communicate, not out of ignorance or laziness. If you are speaking in a context where saying "This is she" or "It is I" would incorrectly communicate an air of pretentiousness, then using a less formal form is probably more "correct" in that it better communicates your intention.

Languages are fluid. The rules are always changing. Any choice of words is only as correct as its ability to deliver the desired meaning. It really comes down to knowing your audience.

jessebanet May-30-2009

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"Speaking" can very well be a noun. "Your speaking is very clear and enunciated" works as a sentence. Similarly then one could say, "This is her speaking."

peter3 Jun-23-2009

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Oh, come on now. Isn't it obvious that when someone says “This is her speaking”, that "speaking" is not a noun? Surely no one actually believes that it's a declaration of "TA DA! I am presenting you with the spoken words uttered by her", and by her, I mean me (don't you hate when someone refers to themselves in the third person? how pretentious!). It doesn't make any sense. While hypothetically, I suppose you could, in some twisted, mangled way, parse the sentence that way, it would be a complete non-sequitor. The only way it would make any sense at all is if the conversation went something like this:


::::: ring, ring :::::
"Hello?"
"Yes, hello Rene. I know it's you. I recognize your voice. You just said 'hello'. Is this 'hello', as well as the words you are about to utter, an example of your, meaning Rene's, actual speech, the audible vibrations created by your vocal cords representing English words?"
"This is her speaking"


Why in the world would anyone delclare that the words they are speaking are examples of their own speech?

porsche Jun-24-2009

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By the way, my name is not Rene, and I am male, but the original question is about "...her speaking..."

porsche Jun-24-2009

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Could anyone provide me with any current references on this matter?
thank you in advance

artrogovskyy Jul-07-2009

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I believe that the correct expression, formal or familiar, is: "The is her" speaking or not. "Her" is the object of the sentence. No one should every say, "This is she here" I agree that the best way is: "Yes, here" or "Yes, speaking".

mcarman150 Jul-10-2009

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THIS IS SHE is the correct terminology. To those who seek to find the right term, it would be "This is she." How funny one person actually thought "speaking" was a noun when used in the sentence "This is her speaking." LOL! -- it is a verb, dork! Speaking is a verb in this sentence. Another example would be this: This is her ball. You can say that, but not -- This is she ball. In this sentence "ball" is a noun so it is appropriate to say "her" however speaking (which is the topic of this forum - to answer a phone call, what the appropriate answer would be?) is a verb therefore This is she speaking is the correct sentence. don't get confused nor be fooled with poorly formed language or as you call it "slang" words. It is THIS IS SHE!

someone Jul-29-2009

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"speaking" is a verb like "running" is a verb... Do you say - "This is her running." LOL! If you do.. my question to you is... Is it YOUR running?

On the other hand

"speech" is a noun as "ball" is a noun... so you say, "This is her ball." You would ask... "Is this her ball?" you don't ask "Is this she ball?"

The point here is, "THIS IS SHE" is the correct term.

someone Jul-29-2009

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"The ‘is’ is like an equal sign in this instance, because sentences like this, “is” shows the state-of-being relationship between the two ideas. “She” is identifying herself in this sentence. ‘This’ and ’she’ are the same thing, and therefore are in the same case (the nominative)."

in person, we point to someone and say "That's her" not "That's she" is that wrong too? should we say "That's she?" or does switching "This" with "That" change the structure of the state-of-being relationship between the two ideas ? is it because she, instead of someone else, is identifying herself ?

trashidytrash Sep-18-2009

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One is 'Blink' by Gladwell. ,

Red19 Oct-22-2009

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Oh goodness, we can beat this topic again and again, but for what? The way I see it, hell if the person understood what the heck you were saying, then by golly, by all means you've made your point! =D

msjulieyaj Dec-09-2009

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In GB we supposedly speak the Queen's english ; HM would say ' my husband and I ' NOT me and my hubby. Would her reply to the question be 'this is I' ?

keithwilson23 Dec-11-2009

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Would one say "it is I" or "it is me"

I go with "it is I"

and therefore

"This is I"

wbkaiser Dec-15-2009

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Woops!

"This is he"

wbkaiser Dec-15-2009

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I never say, "Yes, this is him."

I usually say, "Yes, this is he."

I believe that sounds wrong to many ears and so I commonly use the alternative, "Yes, this is Dan"

Cannot this put an end to the entire controversy?

anonymous Dec-16-2009

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Totally and completely incorrect! Objects of the sentence/verb follow action verbs [mailed,talk,thought, did], not linking verbs [is, are, was]. The object of the verb answers the question "who" or what" after the verb. "She mailed the letter." "She mailed what?" The letter = the object. The object receives the action of the verb. When a pronoun follows a linking verb as in, "It is she," the verb is a linking verb, so the pronoun that follows is a predicate nominative. You need to be able to turn the sentence around, to wit: "It is she," and "She is it." If one says, "It is her," "Her is it" isn't going to fly. Now I admit that in common speech, most people say, "It is her." Totally correct and preferable speech is an ever more rare thing, for example, the use of the disappearing subjunctive. When incorrect speech has been around long enough, we tend to think it "correct"; whereas, it is simply accepted as such. "It is she" is formal, completely correct, and, therefore, standard English. Check a grammar text on line should you doubt this.

masrowan Jan-08-2010

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Answer "This is he (or she)" when you identify yourself on the telephone: Caller 1: "Is Lucy Peters there?" Caller 2: "This is she." ("She is this," not "Her is this.")

reference from: http://www.ehow.com/how_117260_fix-improper-pronouns.html

Diana1 Jan-09-2010

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I like to just say "Speaking" instead of either!
Easier and shorter :)

elizabeth.a.farmer Jan-11-2010

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Just make things simple when someone asks, just say "Speaking!" There ya go, problem solved. ;)

lornad Jan-11-2010

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By replying with 'speaking ' or ' this is he' or any of the other variants that have been suggested immediately puts ONE at a disadvantage. The caller knows it is the person they want to speak to. By asking who is calling gives you the chance to decide whether to take the call or not.

keithwilson23 Jan-11-2010

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Maybe when I meet someone (or read a book by someone) who can actually assert such authority as to choose which is correct in this context I'll be able to agree with anyone. All I see here is "sentence a is incorrect because ____ is a ___ verb" or some other such hobknobbery. WHY is it incorrect to say "this is her" on the phone just because it's incorrect to say it in some other context? How can we be so sure that just for this one time "her" functions as some unnamed chimera pronoun that can be an object and a subject and all kinds of fancy things all at the same time? The distinctions you make are completely arbitrary and to be pragmatic, make no difference at all. There is a marked distinction between "I be Jimmy" and "this is him"

Jimmy2 Jan-13-2010

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Hmmmmm! Well, yes. The distinctions are or were at their formation, indeed, arbitrary; nonetheless, to say they make "no difference AT All," isn't quite true. Language, after all, is simply a convention in which we all agree to say the same thing in more or less the same way to promote understanding and clarity of communication. If I were to call a pencil a Fred, you might think I was a bit strange, and you might be right; however, if I did it long enough and consistently enough, you'd know what I meant when I said I needed a Fred. That's as opposed to my pen, here and after known as my Ethel. But back to the initial question -- the "This is she" vs "This is her." The whole discussion, as I understood it, was one of what is grammatically correct/standard English, as is tested by such instruments as the SAT, ACT, GRE, and so forth, not that such tests are the foundations upon which the universe rests. There are rules for what is termed standard English. Less erudite forms of speech still get the job done, but totally correct, as defined by the grammar books, they are not. That this isn't needed in all cases is very true. "This is she" is now considered colloquial, and "I be Jimmy" is considered simply "substandard," though there are many folks who speak in such a fashion. And I admit it: I have no trouble understanding, "I be Jimmy." It's not "incorrect" to say, "This is her" on the phone. One can speak as one chooses. The rule of what pronoun follows what sort of verb has only to do with what one says if totally standard English is the currency in that exchange. I had thought that the initial subject of the question was precisely that, not whether or not we're allowed to use colloquial speech. It's back to Fred and Ethel. Why must a triangle be a figure three sides and three angles? The answer is the same as to why it's, "This is she." The answer is because, just that -- because. At some point the powers that be came down upon that distinction. It was not I, but others. I have no problem with colloquial speech. But in an academic discussion of what is grammatically correct, I stand not on my opinion but upon that of Warriner's, Strunk and White, and other such authorities.
p.s. I'm confused by the "hobknobbery" remark and how it fits into the discussion. "Hobnobbery" is to associate with others in a familiar manner, to "hang around" with others.

masrowan Jan-13-2010

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Marilyn Rowan:
"Why must a triangle be a figure three sides and three angles? The answer is the same as to why it’s, “This is she.” The answer is because, just that — because. At some point the powers that be came down upon that distinction."

There are no powers that be that decide what is proper English and what is not. English usage is not like math; there are no universal rules fixed for all time. The rules of English usage are made by the speakers. Sure, some people write books about English usage where they make pronouncements about what is right and wrong, but such pronouncements are simply opinions, and should always be considered in light of how the language is actually used.

John4 Jan-13-2010

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My point about the triangle had to do with the "term" triangle. It, too, could have been called a Fred. I realize that the rules of mathematics are fixed, but the language could change, though that's rather unlikely. I further realize that the rules and usage of language have varied over the course of time and will continue in that wise. My point about "the powers that be" for grammar does not relate to the distant future or "a galaxy far far away." My point is that at this point in time, what I wrote holds true. At this point in time, "dems da rules"! Just as the term for that figure we term a triangle could change, "correct" usage can and will change. However, right now that figure IS called a triangle, and "This is she" IS standard usage. Still confused on "hobknobbery."

masrowan Jan-13-2010

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Yes, "this is she" is standard, and "this is her" is also standard. Even in grammar books you will find the opinion that "this is her" is correct.

John4 Jan-13-2010

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Depends on the text, and on the standardized tests, only "It is she" is correct, due to the reasons stated above. However, down the road I descry a gent coming with the wagon from the glue factory. Old Dobbin has done his job and is headed off to pastures more green. Dead horse. I throw down the whip. I never was other than kind to animals anyway, and in this case, it's well nigh useless. Any suggestions on "hobknobbery"?

masrowan Jan-13-2010

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Is the expression "cannot be beat" correct?

lat Jan-14-2010

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As a colloquial expression, "cannot be beat" is used. However, "beat" is an irregular verb: present tense -- beat, simple past tense -- beat, past participle[with helping verbs]-- beaten. Therefore, grammatically it should be, "cannot be beaten." But hell's bells, fewer and fewer people seem to care going for the lowest common denominator.

masrowan Jan-14-2010

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As a colloquial expression, "cannot be beat" is used. However, "beat" is an irregular verb: present tense -- beat, simple past tense -- beat, past participle[with helping verbs]-- beaten. Therefore, grammatically it should be, "cannot be beaten." But hell's bells, fewer and fewer people seem to care, going for the lowest common denominator.

masrowan Jan-14-2010

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"Beat" has two forms for the past participle: "beat" and "beaten". Both are standard. "Beat" is always used in the expression "cannot be beat"; "beaten" does not seem to be used in this phrase. (According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage.)

John4 Jan-14-2010

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Good to know. Thanks, John. I just checked several sources; some gave only one, and some gave both choices. When only one choice was listed, it was "beaten." And then too, there are always the differences between the American and British conventions, both of which have canons in their own contexts, though canon can change. As I said way way up there, language is a convention to aid communication and understanding. When it comes down to it, people can say whatever they choose and generally be understood. The question is: to what end? It would seem to me that anything which aids clearer communication is to the good, and conversely, anything which muddies the waters is, at best, problematic. At the risk of coming across as another version of 'Enry 'Iggins, better grammar is beneficial in that way, but clearly not to everyone in all cases. We're a mixed bag, we humans. For a long time, the pendulum swung toward more concise and correct speech. Now, possibly partially in the name of political correctness, the trend seems to be reversing. This is true with diction as well: irritate vs aggravate, uninterested vs disinterested, and farther vs further are good examples. I've given up on mad vs angry. I adamantly refuse to say I'm "mad," though God knows, it may be true. Bottom line: in some contexts, completely correct English is the coin of the realm. For those who find themselves in such a context, that arrow is still needed in the quiver.

masrowan Jan-14-2010

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"irritate vs aggravate, uninterested vs disinterested, and farther vs further"

These examples are all problematic. The complaints about these words are at best oversimplifications and at worst inaccurate. For instance, Merriam-Webster's usage note on uninterested/disinterested shows that the usage is much more complicated than the complainers want to believe. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinterested

John4 Jan-14-2010

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Yes. I am aware of that.

masrowan Jan-14-2010

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Then I'm not sure what your point is. As for "mad"... there is nothing to give up. "Mad" has meant "angry" for 400 years.

John4 Jan-14-2010

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Yes, but the rage that accompanies madness. It may be a fine point, but with mad now meaning only angry to most people, mad meaning insane is being lost. I'm fine with the branching out of words, but meaning lost is another matter. Another example is the word "gay," which I have discussed with my gay friends. It's a charming word and can be used in many ways, but the meaning "light-hearted," as in "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay," [charming book, that] has been lost. It's sad, to me mind you, to see one meaning subsumed by the other. The language seems the poorer for lost meanings. I've probably read one to many 18th century picaresque novels with antiquated vocabulary and grammar. Errands to run. Later, John

masrowan Jan-14-2010

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"Yes, but the rage that accompanies madness."

The entry in the OED is "Angry, irate, cross. Also, in weakened sense: annoyed, exasperated". Citations are provided from 1400. I don't see a connection with insanity.

"It may be a fine point, but with mad now meaning only angry to most people, mad meaning insane is being lost"

There is no evidence of this. All dictionaries I checked list one of the meanings of "mad" as "insane".

The process you describe with "gay" has happened to every single word in English. Words are always losing meanings and gaining new ones. But I really don't think this means English has lost any expressiveness overall. If we really were losing meanings, then that would mean we can't communicate today as well as we could in some earlier golden age, and there's no evidence of this.

John4 Jan-14-2010

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Well, I traced "stark mad," as in "completely mad" to John Skelton 1489, and that's with the modifier. The reference defines this as "completely insane." "Raving mad" comes in later, and finally "stark raving mad" even later. After all, there's Lewis Carroll and the Mad Hatter from the saying "mad as a hatter"; that's British for you. My understanding is that in the old days, hatters used chemicals in the hands-on making of hats/creating felt, the fumes of which had mind altering properties. Then there was the Madhouse Act at some point in Britain for dealing with insane asylums. I'm not suggesting that dictionaries have abandoned that definition, but that it is failing in the common parlance today. Neither do I suggest we don't communicate as well or that English is not as expressive, but just that for the average person, language is perhaps more circumscribed. Come to think of it, it always was, in that case. But what do I know. I may well be stark raving mad. Seems more and more likely.

masrowan Jan-14-2010

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Well here are some citations to demonstrate how old the "angry, irate, cross" meaning of "mad" is:

c1425 (?a1400) Arthur 234 Whan þis lettre was open & rad, þe Bretons & all men were mad And wolde þe messager scle

a1604 M. HANMER Chron. 125 in J. Ware Hist. Ireland (1633), Roderic was mad, and in his rage, caused his pledges head..to be cut off.

1611 Bible (A.V.) Acts xxvi. 11 And being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them euen vnto strange cities.

John4 Jan-14-2010

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Well, for example 1, probably. For # 2, I could see the definition going either way. With the Biblical quote, it's a translation. There are ever theologians arguing about the correct translation of this or that. And then too, there are the seraphs with six wings, two of which, according to scripture, cover their "feet." Uh-huh! Translations are dicey.

masrowan Jan-14-2010

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Yes the Biblical quote is a translation, but that's not really relevant. The point is that the translators apparently chose the word "mad" to mean "angry".

John4 Jan-14-2010

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Yes, and perhaps they were right, as the "feet" translators were not.

masrowan Jan-14-2010

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This has been mad fun. John and Marilyn have engaged in the kind of meandering yet purposeful debate that makes this site worth reading, even if – or perhaps because – they have strayed so far from the original question that I can scarcely recall it. And all of this with civility and erudition. Kudos. And carry on.

douglas.bryant Jan-15-2010

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Oooooooo, Douglas, love your use of the word "mad"! It seems that John and I have become the pedantic website version of reality TV. And the original question -- something about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, wasn't it? No? Broca's area? Binomial nomenclature? Suggestions for dealing with Eeyore's depressive personality? Damned if I know. Reading back over all of that, I realize that I am only one of the grammar, vocabulary, and literature obsessed out there. It's been the continuing daytime drama of John and Marilyn. I'm charmed we proved to have some entertainment value. As to where we go from here, who knows? Possibly nowhere, and that's dandy too. But you know, had I been one of those seraphs, I'd have used two of my wings to cover my . . . ahhh, . . . "feet" too. But then again, John Kenneth Galbraith said, "Modesty is a vastly over-rated virtue." Hmmmmmm? Clearly not with seraphs. "Civility?" Yes. "Erudite?" Maybe u er dite, but I ain't. "And the beat goes on." Oh, and I'm still trying to "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" "hobknobbery."
signed,
stark, raving, and clearly mad, though not angry

masrowan Jan-15-2010

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Come to think of it, what goes on here is "hobknobbery" [sic] of a sort, though I'm fairly certain that wasn't the original intent of the remark.

masrowan Jan-15-2010

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I looked up "gay" in the OED. Here is a selection of meanings that the word has had at one time or another:
Noble; beautiful; excellent, fine.
Bright or lively-looking, esp. in colour; brilliant, showy.
Of persons, their attributes, actions, etc.: light-hearted, carefree; manifesting, characterized by, or disposed to joy and mirth; exuberantly cheerful, merry; sportive. Also in extended use.
Of a horse: lively, prancing.
the gay science n. the art of poetry
Wanton, lewd, lascivious.
Of words or speech: brilliant, attractive, charming.
U.S. Amongst the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) or other (esp. nonconformist) religious groups: denoting a person who has ceased adhering to the plain and simple life or beliefs of the community; worldly. Esp. in gay Quaker, to go gay.
Brit. regional. In good health; well, convalescent.
U.S. slang. Forward, impertinent, too free in conduct, over-familiar; reckless; usually in to get gay.
A noble or beautiful lady.
A childish amusement; a trifle, a whim.
gay cat n. U.S. slang a young or inexperienced tramp, esp. one who acts as a scout; a hobo who accepts occasional work.

We could say that it's sad that "gay" has lost the meaning of "light-hearted", but why isn't it sad that it has lost all these other meanings as well?

This word has gone through normal processes of semantic change, something that happens to all words. It's not sad, because we can still convey whatever meanings we want to convey, even if we don't use the same words that our ancestors used.

Here's a selection of meanings that the word "silly" has had:
Happy, blissful; fortunate, lucky, well-omened, auspicious
Spiritually blessed, enjoying the blessing of God
Pious, holy, good
Innocent, harmless
Deserving of pity or sympathy; pitiable, miserable, ‘poor’; helpless, defenceless
Insignificant, trifling; mean, poor; feeble
Frail, worn-out, crazy
Foolish, simple, silly

John4 Jan-18-2010

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Your point is well made, and I quite agree. To me, it is sad that those meanings are lost. I gave only one example. I fully realize that semantic change happens, and we can use the words we choose as we choose. However, for the common man, when words are used in a sense no longer in the common parlance, understanding fails. For me, the language is the poorer for the loss. As I mentioned previously, probably a surfeit of very old literature on my part, but I like those words, and it's harder and harder for me to use them and be understood. Lackaday, I most thole it. O.K. I'm not quite THAT archaic. I enjoy writing to you John. U er definitely dite, and it appears that we have entertainment value.
M.

masrowan Jan-18-2010

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Anyone interested in taking on forms of the verbs "lay" and "lie," two of the most frequently misused verbs by the "educated"?

masrowan Jan-18-2010

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"Lay" has been used intransitively to mean "lie" since 1300. No one really cared about it until Baker in 1770, who decided that this was wrong, and who formulated the modern prescriptive judgments about "lay" and "lie". Some more recent usage writers have decided that the distinction is not worth defending.

Language Log gives some unhelpful advice: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000877.html

Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage: http://books.google.com/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&lpg=PP1&dq=Merriam%20Webster's%20Dictionary%20of%20English%20Usage&pg=PA586#v=onepage&q=lay,%20lie&f=false

John4 Jan-18-2010

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Really Marilyn? That old canard? I'm loath to cock a snook at even so learned a maven as you, but "lay versus lie" is not so much a grammatical issue as a social one.

I presume you are alluding to the widespread taboo on using "lay" intransitively for "lie." The simple rule is generally this: "lie" is for people, "lay" is for things. (Easy to remember: many people lie.) But whence the distinction? I'll tell you whence: from long dead grammar cops with a social agenda. You de-bag the cat yourself when you quotationize "educated." For "lay" and "lie" have long been in the same bed.

Evidence, you say? OK. From Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage:

"The OED shows that "lay" has been used intransitively in the sense of "lie" since around the year 1300."

Which should, but won't, lay the issue to rest. There is more. M-W also says:

"The conflict between oral use and school instruction has resulted in the distinction becoming a social shibboleth – a marker of class and education."

I know what you're thinking: educated people talk good. Ergo people lie and things lay. But "educated" people didn't create English, or any language, except Esperanto. And when did anyone last converse in that flat tongue? No, language is created, nurtured and cultivated by poor slobs who wouldn't know an intransitive verb if it gave them a bus transfer, bless 'em.

And yes, I know exactly how snobbish that sounds.

douglas.bryant Jan-19-2010

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I won't assert that it is always followed, but the prescriptive rule is that "lie" is intransitive and "lay" is transitive. As for the bit about "'lie' is for people, 'lay' is for things",well, I would not classify that as a general rule. It doesn't represent common usage, nor is it any kind of accepted prescriptive rule. Frankly, it doesn't even make much sense. I'd group it with other grammar myths like the prohibition on dangling prepositions.

Of course, it only adds to the confusion that the past tense of "lie" is "lay". Just for fun, it's "lie, lay, lain", to include the past participle, and, to compare, "lay, laid, laid."

porsche Jan-19-2010

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Douglas said,

"Really Marilyn? That old canard? I'm loath to cock a snook at even so learned a maven as you, but "lay versus lie" is not so much a grammatical issue as a social one."

Well, Douglas, as I understand it, it's not a grammatical issue, but one of diction, the wrong word being used. "Grammar cops with a social agenda?" If that were entirely true, then this website would seem of no point whatsoever, though I suppose there is a social agenda. I am only a second generation American. All four of my grandparents, two maids, a slightly alcoholic mason, and a baker, were immigrants who spoke accented English with greater or lesser facility in grammar to the ends of their days. All four came from peasant families, and I'm proud of that and them. My father, who spoke very good but not perfect English, a very rare thing in my experience, told me that his teachers insisted that all the children speak grammatically, no matter what they heard at home. The parents, a the mixed bag of Germans, Italians, Poles, and so forth, all insisted on the same point. It was seen, and still is, one form of social betterment. Eliza Doolittle knew that she needed to speak more correctly to be a lady in a flower shop. My father, by the way, had one semester of college when his father died. He then quit and got a job to support his mother and a sister still at home, and later, another widowed sister and her five children. I was the first college graduate in my family on either side. My background is not privileged.

As I said before, in some contexts, formal English is the coin of the realm. We don't often hear our physicians say to their nurses, "I ain't got no pencil." Egregious errors are a signal of various things that are usually a stumbling block to a successful life, not that lay vs lie is egregious. An example in point is that once I was on the phone calling a company with a complaint and asked to speak to the manager. In such situations, anyone below that level can't make decisions. One is being vetted, and one's time is wasted explaining the same thing multiple times. The woman to whom I was speaking claimed that she was the manager. I knew she wasn't simply by the way she spoke and again insisted on speaking to the manager. She wasn't pleased, but in the end, I got the manager, who spoke far better than the original woman. I'd been correct. For better or worse, this is what happens.

And as for its being an "old canard," that duck is not really enchained and still flies in testing instruments, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, and certainly until death, in the probably not foreseeable future, us do part. "The simple rule is generally this: "lie" is for people, "lay" is for things. (Easy to remember: many people lie.)" Not entirely, since you can "lay the baby in the bed" or "lay your body down": "Now I lay me down to sleep." For that matter, once you have "laid" your books on the table, they are "lying" there. Porsche is correct in this matter. Lay [lay, laid, have laid, laying] means to put or place. Lie [lie, lay, have lain, lying] means to recline/rest horizontally. The problem lies [thing, not person, but it "lies"] with "lay" and "lain" as the past and past participle of "lie." They go virtually unused, except by the few. And the reason I put "educated" in quotation marks? The vast majority of the educated misuse these verbs, according to standards of strictly formal English as well, just like everyone else. And yes, I do know that forms of "lay" have been used for forms of "lie" for half of forever. But this is a forum on correct grammar and usage as dictated by the rules, such as they are, and for strictly formal English, it isn't correct. "The conflict between oral use and school instruction has resulted in the distinction becoming a social shibboleth – a marker of class and education." Did you or do you, in the raising of your children, insist that they speak correctly? Why? Do they say, "Dad, I ain't got no pencil"? Had they ever said precisely that, how would you have replied? The "lay" vs "lie" difference is one of degree rather than kind in the discussion of "ain't." Same church different pew. Danged picky pew, but even so, Douglas, even so.

"I know what you're thinking: educated people talk good." Not all of 'em, sweetie. Not nearly all of 'em, and for reasons I won't broach here. And for that matter, some self-educated folks speak beautifully. "Ergo people lie and things lay." Once again, not in all cases. Nope. Not nearly all. "No, language is created, nurtured and cultivated by poor slobs who wouldn't know an intransitive verb if it gave them a bus transfer, bless 'em." With that, I can only agree. "And yes, I know exactly how snobbish that sounds." Not "hobknobbish"? Oh! And cocked snooks are all the rage in some places. Cock away. I quite enjoy snooks, cocked or otherwise. In fact, they often make my day. "Lay [not lie] on, Macduff!" On that note, have a pleasant evening or morning, or whatever it is there. I'm in the Midwest, in a blob of humanity in the great fly-over zone.

masrowan Jan-19-2010

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“Lay” has been used intransitively to mean “lie” since 1300. No one really cared about it until Baker in 1770, who decided that this was wrong, and who formulated the modern prescriptive judgments about “lay” and “lie”. Some more recent usage writers have decided that the distinction is not worth defending. Again, I have to wonder where Marilyn's rules of "strictly formal English" come from, if not from the opinions of usage writers and educated speakers, not all of whom agree on this issue.

Language Log gives some unhelpful advice: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000877.html

John4 Jan-19-2010

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Marilyn, I believe you are under a misconception. Regarding your statement: "... But this is a forum on correct grammar and usage as dictated by the rules, such as they are...", nothing could be further from the truth.

This is from the "about us" page of this very website: "...because the experts can never agree with one another...PainInTheEnglish.com encourages discussions of such gray areas of the English language, for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries and other reference books..."

You will find many debates on this site between strict prescriptivists and studied linguistics descriptivists, sometimes inspired, sometimes tedious, but usually interesting. Yes, often someone studying ESL is obviously looking for the "rule" and instead gets a less than useful digression into the social implications of judging regionalisms or growing acceptance of subject-verb case mismatch, but the point is, this site is not about rules, but encouraging interesting discussions and debates we might all learn from.

porsche Jan-20-2010

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Probably some usage writers feel that "ain't" isn't worth bothering about, and they may, indeed, be right. I guess I'm back to the old "isn't the discussion of such what the site is about anyway?" And not ALL of any group agrees about anything, at least not usually. Total consensus? Maybe when we've gone to sing with the choir invisible. However, on this point, most usage writers agree, including Strunk and White, to list only one. The bottom line is that if using certain forms of speech, and here I'm not discussing any particular example, can cause one a problem professionally or personally, it's best to avoid it at least in formal situations and stick to what's generally accepted as standard, whatever that is. It's a question of covering one's metaphorical ass, or "feet" for that matter.

masrowan Jan-20-2010

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Oh, and thanks, John. I was just about to post "where is John the linguist when we need him?":) (assuming, of course, you're the same John)

porsche Jan-20-2010

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I'd be wary of trusting Elements of Style. The books written as advice for college students in writing essays. Nowadays it is marketed to all writers, but the content hasn't been updated consistently.
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2005/10/23/frankenstrunk/
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/theword/2008/09/return_of_the_l.html

John4 Jan-20-2010

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John has pegged the issue pretty well, and Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage agrees. Their conclusion, which they quote from another source, is this:

"Many people use "lay" for "lie," but certain others will judge you uncultured if you do. Decide for yourself what is best for you."

The intransitive use of "lay" was on the decline at the same time that grammarians were ascendant. Since only the educated studied grammar, lay v. lie became a marker beyond importance.

This is not to say that conventional standards of usage are irrelevant. Here I agree with Marilyn. Understanding standard usage and its rules is vital. But grammatical rules are not commandments. Ordinary speech, or writing, should usually follow precept. Once understood, rules may be tested, even flouted, if to the advantage of meaning.

douglas.bryant Jan-21-2010

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I love that people keep asking about the grammatical correctness of idiomatic expressions. Is it correct to say 'can't be beat?' Um, it's an idiom. The point is not whether it's grammatically correct. The point is: This is what people say. It's an expression in common usage and any question of the rules related to the expression is (as far as I'm concerned) moot.

In the same way, we could ask whether 'This is her' is correct. Well, no - it's not (based on the preponderance of evidence and opinion gathered here). But as a perfectly understandable response to a telephoned question, it seems a little silly that anyone would worry about it.

I guess it's true that certain constructions (and even idioms) in common usage are rotten to their core. I'd argue, in fact, that John's now infamous "My friend and me are going out later" (or something like that) is totally unacceptable. If I heard someone say this I would be awfully tempted to suggest an alternative construction. It sounds terrible to my ears, but that's just me. (Or is it 'That's just I?')

That said...I'm a total geek for this stuff and love the passion that people bring to such a wonky conversation. Fight on, militant grammarians!

Jon2 Mar-21-2010

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I just like "This is she," more. ;)

Ashley2 Apr-20-2010

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I googled "this is she" after reading HP's list of offending grammatical mistakes. Had no idea all of you "militant grammarians" were encamped on this website. What fun! I had been taught that "This is she" is the correct usage. Agree that is doesn't "sound right." However at 60, I have to say I'll go deaf before "Him and me are going out" sounds right either. Being a bit of a mugwamp here, I think the best advice is to waffle: "speaking" seems to fit the bill without having to make a choice to get it wrong, to offend, or sound like a pompous arse.

p.s. To stark, raving, and clearly mad Marilyn, I love your story, your style, your spunk. I am in Lawrence, Ks. I know know fly-zone very well.

patjeffdavis Jun-18-2010

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Here's the quandary that brought me to this site:
'No one could entertain like her and Ed.'
vs
'No one could entertain like she and Ed.'
I find that the easiest way to know which is grammatically correct is to add a word or phrase, and subtract a word or phrase.
'No one could entertain like her could entertain.'
'No one could entertain like she could entertain.'

Clearly, I'm going with 'she' over 'her', no matter how 'snobby' it may sound to others. As to whether the choice of 'she' vs 'her' will cause the Earth to slip off its axis, I'm fairly certain it will not. Using 'proper' English grammar is not, however, a waste of time, or evidence of snobbery. It's a conscious effort to retain some order in a formal language, which (imho) is a mark of a civilised society. A 'breakdown' in such formal order is not always a good thing. Reducing to the most common denominator might work in arithmetic; but in society - not so very much, I think.

Beverly Sutton Lawrence
'What the World needs now are MORE SQUIRRELS! Then, there would be fewer NUTS running around, loose! (or running for public office!)'

Beverly1 Jun-27-2010

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I always answer the phone at work with "This is she". While I just heard my co-worker used "This is her".

I don't think "This is her" makes sense because I am left feeling this is her ...what? Her sister, nanny?

"This is she" is one of the correct answers. You can also say "This is Abby".

Abby Jul-09-2010

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GUYS! lets analyze... THIS, THAT, THESE, THOSE are demonstrative pronoun... SHE, IT, HE, THEY WE, are subjective pronouns..REMEMBER! IN ENGLISH GRAMMAR: there's always and exception to the rule. on a telephone conversation... the caller doesn't know who he/she is talking/speaking with...then asks for a specific name... ex. "May I speak to Roy?"... luckily, Roy is the one speaking... since there is a medium being used...Roy informs the caller that he is already speaking to Roy. " This is he" means this is Roy, but since the one speaking is Roy, it is considered to be the first person, using the 3rd person pronoun and not a receiver of the action. This - demonstrative pronoun, is - linking verb, Roy - noun if reversed could still be the subject of the sentence and not an object. "This is/ That's him/her" would be right if your mean another person as the object of the sentence or the one being talked about...

lushessweet Jul-17-2010

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Why not just answer the question?

Usually when you're answering the phone somebody asked the question, "May [or more casually, 'can'] I speak to so-and-so?"
So and so: "Yes."

gpgirard Jul-22-2010

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But in so doing, you don't inform the caller of your identity. "Yes" merely means that the caller may, indeed, speak to the asked for person. Of course, one can choose to melodically intone, "Yes. This is Cruella, Cruella Deville," or whatever, making one's self known by name. However, if a pronoun is used, "she/he," the nominative case pronoun, is correct.

The militant grammarian is waving to in Lawrence, Kansas, a picture perfect small town I love and know well. When passing through, I eat at Tellers, since they tarted up the charming old Free State Hotel, which has been called the Eldridge in recent years. Academician? I'm in the greater St. Louis area.

masrowan Jul-22-2010

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Dang! The name of home before dark disappeared out of my posting, to wit: ". . . waving to home before dark in Lawrence, Kansas . . ."

masrowan Jul-22-2010

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In Russia we use IT IS ME more often than IT IS I.

scherbinki Aug-12-2010

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Beverly says:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we replace the entire "she could entertain" part with "her" as in her way of entertaining or her ability to entertain.Then you cannot compare the two sentences.

When I replace she with her it is mainly to shorten the sentence. To me, at least, "No one could entertain like she" sound incomplete without " could entertain"

chezjeya Aug-19-2010

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Correction:

Beverly said:
__ I find that the easiest way to know which is grammatically correct is to add a word or phrase, and subtract a word or phrase.
‘No one could entertain like her could entertain.’
‘No one could entertain like she could entertain.’__

Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we replace the entire “she could entertain” part with “her” as in her way of entertaining or her ability to entertain.Then you cannot compare the two sentences.

When I replace she with her it is mainly to shorten the sentence. To me, at least, “No one could entertain like she” sounds incomplete without ”could entertain”

chezjeya Aug-19-2010

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Thing is, you would not reply for someone else by saying "HER is not in, is there a message?", you would say "SHE is not in." So.... the correct response would be "THIS IS SHE.."

Beebe1220 Aug-22-2010

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To jlr:

jlr asks: "Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we replace the entire “she could entertain” part with “her” as in her way of entertaining or her ability to entertain. Then you cannot compare the two sentences."

Consider yourself corrected. No, we do not replace the entire phrase 'She could entertain' part with 'Her'. If someone asked you, 'Who could entertain?', would you reply, 'Her could!' No, you would say, 'She could!' Would you say 'Her could entertain'? I don't think so.

To Oleg:
Oleg writes: In Russia we use IT IS ME more often than IT IS I

Hmmmm. In Russia, would you not more often use "??? - ?"? (ROTF,LMHO)

Beverly1 Sep-04-2010

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Has it been mentioned that spoken English is almost always different than written English?

There are terms and phrases that are used in colloquial speech, yet are never used in writing. Also, as others have stated, there are written phrases that are in common usage that are grammatically incorrect, yet are replaced by their incorrect, less obfuscated-sounding counterparts.

There are some things that I believe that should remain consistent in our language, yet, as language is an evolution, people need to recognize that things do change, and will continue to change, for as long as humans exist. Thus, this should not really be a point of contention.

That said, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with using slang and/or colloquial forms in place something that could possibly alienate you by making you appear as if you stepped out of the 1600s. I will not knock anyone who chooses to say "I am smarter than her" in place of "I am smarter than she." In fact, I'm going to encourage it, as long as you are conscientious of the correct form.

Lastly, if it makes things simpler for both the writer and the reader to understand, then one may opt to say, "She is smarter than I am," rather than saying, "She is smarter than I." I'm not advocating the dumbing down of the language, but if you have to find a medium between sounding silly and being grammatically correct, that is it.

thekidz03 Nov-07-2010

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"This is she." Is the correct usage. This isn't a matter of what is common, sounds better, or what you happen to use. Right and wrong are still two very different things and there are no grey areas in the rules of proper grammar. If everyone went around robbing banks we still wouldn't grant them the allowance just because it's "common". Languages were set up to make some sort of logical sense and follow a set of rules. When you stop following those rules you are no longer speaking that language, but instead, a warped derivative. You may use whichever method you wish, but know still that the only correct way is the right way and that way is "This is she."

rwashum88 Nov-10-2010

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Languages were not "set up". Languages have evolved with zero intervention for a very long time. Grammar was "set up", but English was never "set up".

There is no such thing as right or wrong in language. Language is a fluid tool that has changed millions of times over the full length of human existence. You can be grammatically incorrect, because that is a constructed set of rules, but you can never be linguistically incorrect.

Practically speaking, very few languages have ever codified grammatical rules the way that modern languages have. It is pride that drives people to take their language so seriously they believe every native speaker must write and speak the way it is stated in some rulebook. There wouldn't be the richness and variety of languages if Sumerian did what English has done.

Perhaps we should just gather up all the Scots and Cockneys and teach them how to speak *real* English, you know, since we're the ones who actually use it correctly.

Paul3 Nov-16-2010

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'this is she' and 'this is her' are both correct.

Not only does 'this is her' sound better to my ears or is in common usage, I compare it to other sentences. Read all along above for many examples.

'This is she' sounds like something from Shakespeare or some other older-style English. Like, 'He who removes the sword from the stone is..' or 'This is he who removed...'. 'This is she' needs something else, really. But, grammatically, 'this is she' is still correct. As a general note, you use 'she' for the subject, and not 'her' as the sole subject, but 'her' as the object. But normally, like 'Give it to she' is not correct, unless it's 'give it to she who possesses the power of..'. Another way of saying that is 'give it her, who possesses the power of..'.

I never though of speaking as this is her speaking, as in this is her speech or her speaking (the way she speaks), but rather as 'this is her, speaking'. In that case, it would be the same thing as 'this is she, speaking', or 'this is she who speaks of..'.

But 'speaking', was always a short form for 'yes, speaking' for me. Like, may I speak to Db? 'Yes, speaking' (as in, yes, you may, and btw, I'M speaking to you, so don't act as if I'm not even there). In this way, I always think of it like That's me, speaking. Or, yes, I'm speaking. When someone talks to you in the third person, you don't confirm that you're not him by saying this is her or she. What's wrong with you! Say, no! Hey, looky here, that's me, I'm speaking, please. That' just my opinion, anyway.

dbfreak Nov-17-2010

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The other thing I look to add is some people think 'this is she' is more formal for some reason.. I think there's a term for that in linguistics, when people think they know the real way but they really don't. It usually comes as a result of 'this is she' being more foreign and, therefore, more correct, or more formal. Ok, I know that is not a good explanation, but if you know what I'm talking about, you will understand.

dbfreak Nov-17-2010

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In school I remember hearing: e.g. Yes, this is "she" and not her but can you also say Yes, this is me??? is this informal?? I left USA many moons ago....HELP!

Randy Nov-20-2010

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She is the one to whom the caller is speaking is she not? Who is speaking to the caller? She is not her is! She is the subjective, right? So if you are talking about your self with the verb to be you must use she.

sadgegoddess Feb-15-2011

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Well, it's nominative, since it's a predicate nominative following a linking verb, renaming or explaining the subject which, in "This is she," is "This." If you read the postings from January 2010, all of that was gone into exhaustively with polite and understated ire aplenty. It all boils down to "correct by what standard?" Formal English? Colloquial English? For formal/standard English, Elle, you're absolutely correct: it must be "she." What Melissa says above is true. The more properly one speaks, the more likely one is to be branded as a snob. Odd, since I'd never correct or speak down to someone who made an error in the course of conversation, but I've been told I was incorrect when the opposite was true and accused of snobbery when I simply and politely defended what I originally said.

masrowan Feb-15-2011

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This is for those of you who argue for the common usage concept. Every action has a thought behind it. The fact is, many think and say, "The phrase 'me and her are going...' sounds atrocious!" The very fact that it is a common thought and saying, makes it atrocious. That is if you are for the commonality argument.

You cannot argue commonality while omitting common opinions.

CK Feb-25-2011

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i learned a lot by reading your comments.

i guess people just need to check how pronouns are used. ^^ thank you so much! ^^

dan1 Apr-19-2011

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Wow, I wonder if the original poster ever thought their question would trigger a five year debate of the topic.

joy Jun-20-2011

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this subject annoys me. I was taught in 2nd grade that "this is she" is correct and since second grade it is what I have used. People around me use "this is she" I have heard people say "this is her" but mostly at gas stations. Just because some people think they can alter a language with poor usage doesn't mean it SHOULD be altered. I am not perfect but if I was speaking incorrectly and sounded like an idiot I would hope someone would tell me. I would also remind you that other countries speak English, and would be offended at your arrogance to suggest that simply out of American laziness we should change a grammatical rule.

stella Jul-19-2011

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