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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's "champing" at the bit, and never say "her and I"

So, you know the expression “chomping at the bit”? Stop saying that. Because it doesn’t exist. Turns out it’s “champing at the bit:” “The verb 'champ' means 'to make a biting or chewing action with the jaws and teeth' was horses that were first said to be 'champing at the bit'; the bit being the mouthpiece of a horse's bridle.” (1)  Only really smart people know this. So, if you say “champing at the bit,” really smart people will think you’re really smart.

On another subject, one of my biggest pet peeves is that everybody seems to think that if they use the word “I” instead of “me” in an indirect object clause, they’ll sound smarter. Like this, from Timbaland:
“I got a plan for you and I. Let's journey across the Venetian skies.
Can I have some of your cookies, can I have some of your pie”

(First of all, gross, Timbaland, you can NOT have some of my pie.)  That’s all kinds of wrong.  In any phrase like “you and I” or “her and I” or “Jay and me,” you can remove the other person and see if the phrase works.  Like this: “I’ve got a plan for I” (note that I helped Timbaland out also with the missing verb – ‘ve).  We can all agree that “a plan for I” sounds ridiculous.  Actually the whole song is ridiculous.  It’s one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard.  You should totally listen to it on iTunes, just so you can be amazed at how bad it is. 

Annnyway, the words “her” and “him” should be grouped with “me,” NOT with “I!”  And “I” should be grouped with “he” and “she.”  It is NEVER ok to say “her and I” or “him and I.”  So in his song, “The Coolest,” Lupe Fiasco should not have said:
“And so began our reign. The trinity, her and I can.
No weather man could ever stand where her and I came.”

He should’ve said:

“And so began our reign. The trinity, she and I can.
No weather man could ever stand where she and I came”

Kanye West demonstrates an even dumber-sounding mistake – he’s not aware that the word “me” cannot be a subject!  You can’t say that “me went on tour,” so you also can’t say “Jay-Z and me went on tour.”  But since Kanye doesn’t read (as he told us on his VH-1 storytellers appearance) and he went to school just so he could do lunch and gym, he still uses this incorrect syntax:

Kanye West on Twitter: “When me and Jay toured... ever night I peered into the audience astonished...”

So, I guess the moral of the story is that if you are going to school just so you can hang out during lunch and gym, you better be a good rapper, because that’s the only career available to you where you can make a ton of money with absolutely atrocious grammar.


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