Today in Dizzy thinks there is a heartfelt challenge to the Prime Minister’s poor grammar.
In the register of members’ interests Mr Blair has written “following official talks with the King of Jordan, the King provided return air travel from Jordan to Egypt for my wife and me”.
“Surely “my wife and I”? Maybe Public School education is not all its cracked up to be? “
Sadly, for Dizzy Mr Blair is of course correct. And I – Scottish state school (and consequently in Scottish terms public school) educated – can only applaud Blair’s Scottish independent (or, less formally, private) school education. Kingsley Amis diagnosed Dizzy’s view as “hyper-urbanism” in The King’s English (p 102) and noted that “anecdotal impression and published figures tells us that expressions like “between you and I and the gatepost”, a venerable howler, are actually more used today in speech and writing than the grammatical version. The origin here is probably the quite false and truly vulgar notion that to say (or write) “It’s me” is ungrammatical and therefore to be avoided. Ungrammatical it is, but completely idiomatic, and even in fun “It is I” is too awful to be tolerated. [outwith Allo Allo obviously – landg] Anyway, the impression lingers in some that “me” is rather mean and low and uneducated, whereas “I” is dignified, upmarket and sort of Oxford-accented in itself. This view of style might have had the word “stilted” – i.e. on stilts, artifically elevated – coined specially for it.”
ETA Dizzy’s blog now has a few comments to similar effect with a suitably witty reply from Dizzy himself.