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June 20, 2011
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There has been an ongoing theme on this thread of people using the grammar of another language to prove their case in English. A general question for everyone: Is that really a valid tactic? Why or why not?
@ Peter (in belated Re: to your question posted Feb 24)-
Two categories:1) The professional men in my life tend to answer with a confirmation of their identity.
"Is this John Smith?""Yes, this is John."
2) My homeboys answer:
Not to say I haven't heard "This is he." I have, just less often than I hear the women in my family use it. And admittedly, I hear "This is him." occasionally too. It may have something to do with a belief peculiar to my family that the women are raised to be the bastions of good grammar, whereas the young male children are perhaps allowed more leeway because women are thought to be the early and most influential educators of each subsequent generation. Therefore correct grammar is more important to their role in the family.
Just a random theory.
Count me as one of the people who found Peter's post to be adding positive value to the discussion. Never before had I viewed the response "This is s/he" to be a feminine trait. Peter's post made me stop and think about it, and I did enjoy a little moment of revelation where I thought maybe his observation might be valid.
For what it's worth, I am female and have always, always, answered the telephone inquiry in question with "This is she." I have never considered it snobby, I don't do it in an effort to impress. I can only assure everyone that I am not from high breeding, nor do I aspire to be. I answer the phone that way because that's how my mother did it when I was a child. My grandmother did it, my aunts did it, and all of my friends did as well. I had never heard it in any other way I cared to emulate. Upon discovery of this thread years ago, I was positively flummoxed to learn that it is such a hotly debated issue.
Regardless of whether or not popular current usage ever manages to prove me "wrong" to use "This is she"; I think I would remain partial to its use because it is a definitive, unarguable statement that sets a tone of confidence for the conversation to follow. Other responses can too easily fall into a pit of being hesitant or unsure, setting a faltering tone for the coming conversation.
*"Is this Jane Smith?""Ah... yeah. That... would be me, I guess... What do you want?"*
Are you sure you know who you are?
In contrast, no one may argue with the confidence of*"This is SHE!"*Speak and be heard.
I think the discomfort many people have with correct usage in this case stems from the phenomenon that there is a mini-moment at the beginning of the conversation where the receiver is forced to think of himself in the third person. He may, after all, not be the person in question at all, which leads to the aforementioned hesitation in response. Many people's daily lives don't present much opportunity to view themselves from a detached perspective. Hence, I would like to proffer the hypothesis that the unfamiliarity of the concept breeds contempt of the use.
Well, 7 years after this thread was started...I do believe there's finally a wiki entry for it:
Wow, I wonder if the original poster ever thought their question would trigger a five year debate of the topic.
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