Having myself a rant


I am not a grammar Nazi. I realise that language is flexible and changes over time. However, there is currently one particular piece of grammar-mangling popping up everywhere that is driving me to distraction - the endless addition of the words 'myself' and 'yourself' into any business-based conversation. i.e

'The deal organised between myself and yourself is terrific. I'll send a confirmation email to yourself.'

This drives me potty. Even worse, my normally well spoken father tried to correct something I'd written to him this morning by telling me that '-even you!' should be '-even yourself!'.

This way of talking also has the side effect of making everybody sound slightly Irish.

The usual thinking is that this all initially stems from people's fear of incorrectly using 'I' and 'me' in sentences. However, I think a lot of this has also spread from people picking it up off each other and thinking that that is the way they should actually talk in order to sound 'professional' - in much the same way that hostesses on aeroplanes can only refer to 'drinks' as 'beverages'.

I don't think any of my readers would mangle their words in such a way, but to confirm, lest somebody else should stumble across this post:


"Myself" and "yourself" are usually correct in only two situations:

  1. To emphasise or contrast: "Paul knows everyone, but I myself am new here." "Your sister has blue eyes, but you yourself have brown eyes."
  2. When you're doing something to yourself: "I ask myself..." "You set high standards for yourself."

9 comments:

Brit said...

Yeah that one winds myself up too.

It's definitely a Hyacinth Bucket-style one where people mistakenly believe it to be the correct or more formal word.

worm said...

Just to confirm, I don't mind Irish folk saying things like 'yer a good man yerself' and suchlike

Gaw said...

I haven't come across this one outside of Father Ted - in fact, could this be its source?

worm said...

really Gaw? you've never heard, for instance, a hotel check in person say 'and would there be any newspapers for yourself?' or 'any coffee for yourself' etcetc ad nauseam? I can't believe you've never noticed this before!!

Brit said...

The other week I watched a young chap at work typing the following in an email:

"Further to your earlier conversation with myself..."

I pointed out the error and he was visibly shocked.

Gaw said...

Being a bit of a dreamy doofus I probably assumed all such people were Irish. I should have realised as not one of them had a pig under their arm.

Gadjo Dilo said...

I've also never heard this outside the Emerald Isle. Maybe the Father Tedisation of Eng. Lang. is the next stage after the rising inflections we got from Neighboursisation a while ago.

I currently work as a professional grammar Nazi - I'd have hyphenated your "well-spoken", by the way - but as my approach to English grammar is characterised more by enthusiasm than by efficiency I'd perhaps be better termed a Grammar Legionaire of the Archangel Michael.

Susan said...

Are you yourself a Virgo?

worm said...

It's an easy mistake to make Gaw - what with the new smaller iPigs everyone's getting these days

Gadjo - as a person living in Romania, you are excused from having experienced this phenomenon. I have made a mental note to be more precise with my comments on your page! Your link to the 'Iron Guard' was fascinating!!! Surely there has to be a whole suite of Robert Harris style stories to be fashioned out of that??!! Awesome stuff

Susan - the auguries of the zodiac are a mystery to me - are virgos supposed to be schizophrenic? Or grammar nazis?
I'm a capricorn - we like the sound of the pips before the news on radio 4 and watching baby lamb's tails shake whilst they're feeding.