pronoun hierarchy – SOLC 2017 #5

This isn’t a grammar lesson. It is about where our attention lies…

  • Someone who says (or writes) YOU often is focusing beyond him- or herself.
  • US and WE – the use of these inclusive pronouns is inviting.
  • HE, SHE, and IT – all speak of not being sure, or maybe not caring, who might be out there.
  • THEM and THEY are always to blame – because it isn’t ever our own fault.
  • ME is better when referring to oneself because it takes the self-centered spotlight off the speaker (or the writer). Object rather than subject. (OK, maybe a little bit of grammar here.)
  • I, I, I  doesn’t notice anyone else.

A friend said, many years ago, that when she and her husband had disagreements, it was always because one of them was putting I before WE.

When another friend proofread a letter of recommendation that I had written for a teacher who was job searching, she asked me, “Who is this letter about? Every one of your sentences starts with ‘I.’ Shouldn’t it be more about the other teacher?”

This is something I continue to watch out for. Something to remember:

YOU

US

WE

HE, SHE, IT

ME

I

Who’s on first?

7 thoughts on “pronoun hierarchy – SOLC 2017 #5

  1. Donna Smith says:

    Important things to remember in writing and thinking!
    Here’s some fun for you!

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I love this food for thought about pronouns.
    You have given me lots to think about.
    We can all benefit from this lesson.
    She is trying to change her pronoun status.
    This post was meaningful to me.

  3. I’ve notice this when I’ve been in conversations with people who are in the process of reflection – when they use “I” instead of “you” I know they are farther along in the process of internalizing information.

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