Me, Myself, and I
Believe it or not, teachers still instruct students (stay with me here) on the proper use of pronouns. While each is a first-person singular pronoun; “I” should describe the experience of the subject of the sentence while “Me” the experience of the object (direct, indirect, or prepositional) within a sentence and “myself” what’s experienced through reflection (reflexively). So: I do things or am things. Things are done to me. My reflections inform myself of who I am.
Communicating through the written word is completely different than expressing ourselves vocally. This is vitally important and worth considering even if high school grammar (no, it’s not grammer!) was years ago.
Understanding the subject in a sentence can also be challenging for students who often confuse it with the prepositional phrase (I promise, there is a point here). So: Readers, who only look at news headlines, can’t be expected to know the full meaning of a story. Obviously “Readers” is the subject but you would be surprised how many think it’s “news headlines.”
So what does this possibly have to do with anything? Well, consider the rapid evolution of the use of pronouns in our civil discourse and it becomes even more apparent that having a basic understanding of grammar might save us all some trouble in the future. When writing, one must determine the use of the pronoun based on the identification of the subject that reflects the intended purpose of the writer. This is where the he/she/her/him/ debate starts to take place in the minds of the deconstructionists amongst us. As our language expands to take into consideration the new pronouns that have entered the lexicon of language in the interest of inclusion; gender gets really confusing.
Gender-neutral pronouns exist based on the premise that sexuality and gender are a personal choice and not a biological reality (as has historically been the case). The english language, such as it is, makes the masculine and feminine more easily convergent with pronouns like: Demigirl (noun or pronoun depending on its location in a sentence) which is a gender identity term for someone who was assigned female at birth but does not fully identify with being a woman, socially or mentally.
Ok, so here is the point (thanks for sticking with me). As we move away from biological reality and toward identifying people by their personal social or mental construct, it will become more confusing and difficult to write (and speak) without potentially, unknowingly, or because of systemic issues, offending someone. If one is to follow the logic of the latest purveyors of how people should be identified; “it” may go down in the lexicon as the most popular and accurate pronoun as we move into our increasingly “open” future.
Sure, all you old-fashioned, systemic racists who have been brainwashed by the patriarchal language structure, will have to get on board — but as for me? I’m going to continue to teach it and figure out how it can make it see that it has to stop this madness or it will cause it all to go to it and that is not where it wants to be — I hope!
And, the grammar lessons will continue!
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