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Once again, I’ve got a question for you dear readers.  As I so regularly do in my spare time instead of cultivating rewarding interpersonal relationships, I was reading a piece on grammatical/punctuation errors, by Toni Bowers.  Of course, being quarrelsome, I disagreed with half of her six points.  I could agree with three points in the article: don’t confuse me and I, don’t confuse its and it’s, don’t confuse their, they’re, and there.  But there’s nothing wrong with an apostrophe after an acronym/initialism, so CD’s is fine.  Furthermore, periods are fine within quotation marks if you’re British or prefer the British style — and if you really care about which goes inside the other and you’re not editing a text that has to conform with a specific style guide, you need to re-analyze your priorities.  And the last point the great debate of standard accusative pronouns (me, you, them) versus reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, themselves). I wouldn’t necessarily say I disagree with her point, but that’s because I am not sure how I feel about her example sentence.  So I figured I’d ask the smartest (and least susceptible to flattery) folks on the internet: how do the following two sentences compare for you?

(1a) I have enough salsa for you and myself.
(1b) I have enough salsa for you and me.

Are both acceptable?  Neither?  Only one?  And how do they compare to these two sentences?

(2a) I have enough salsa for myself.
(2b) I have enough salsa for me.

And lastly, how do they compare to these four sentences?

(3a) Troy has enough salsa for you and himself.
(3b) Troy has enough salsa for you and him. (Assuming him refers to Troy)

Please leave a comment if you have any opinions on the matter.  If you can, give a ranking of these sentences as well.  Next week we’ll look at your thoughts and compare them to the expectations of prescriptivists and syntacticians.  Oooh, I’m giddy with excitement!

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A lot of people make claims about what "good English" is. Much of what they say is flim-flam, and this blog aims to set the record straight. Its goal is to explain the motivations behind the real grammar of English and to debunk ill-founded claims about what is grammatical and what isn't. Somehow, this was enough to garner a favorable mention in the Wall Street Journal.

About Me

I'm Gabe Doyle, currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Language and Cognition Lab at Stanford University. Before that, I got a doctorate in linguistics from UC San Diego and a bachelor's in math from Princeton.

In my research, I look at how humans manage one of their greatest learning achievements: the acquisition of language. I build computational models of how people can learn language with cognitively-general processes and as few presuppositions as possible. Currently, I'm working on models for acquiring phonology and other constraint-based aspects of cognition.

I also examine how we can use large electronic resources, such as Twitter, to learn about how we speak to each other. Some of my recent work uses Twitter to map dialect regions in the United States.

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