Issue For November 5, 2006
Writing Question of the Week
This is usually a question submitted by an OWL user to the OWL Tutors. If you have a question you need answered quickly, ask one of our OWL Tutors or call the Writing Lab's Grammar Hotline at 765-494-3723. And remember, both services are free for everyone!
When do you use, "Rob & I" or "Rob & me" or "me & Rob" in a sentence? What's the rule on using these? Please help. Thanks in advance,
Sheryl, thank you for your inquiry. The way to tell if you want to use "I" or "me" is by dropping the other person's name and seeing if the sentence still makes sense. Here's an example:
Rob and me went to the store.
If you drop the other person's name "Rob," you are left with "Me went to the store" which doesn't make sense -- so, you would know that the sentence should read "Rob and I went to the store" because taking out "Rob" leaves you with "I went to the store" (which makes sense).
Here's another example:
He gave the flowers to Rob and I.
If you go through the same process and remove the other person's name, you're left with "He gave the flowers to I," which doesn't make sense. The sentence "He gave the flowers to me" does make sense, so you'd know to write the sentence as "He gave the flowers to Rob and me."
Hope this helps.
The OWL Help Nest
Each week we publish Purdue OWL News readers' requests for advice or information and the responses from other Purdue OWL News readers.
My son is having great difficulty with prepositions (to, at, in, for, etc.) and prepositional phrases. He tends to mix them up when speaking & writing. Do you have any suggestions for helping him?--Nancy, Albany, NY
I have seen and gone through many new and updated grammar books but still think that the small, almost a booklet, (and in a way elementary) PREPOSITIONS by R.A. Close (Longman Elements of English Series) is the greatest of them all. It is short, precise and enriched with small illustrative drawings.
--Ljudmila Hribar, Buenos Aires, Argentina
What's the difference between the words "use" and "usage"? Are there any occasions in which one is appropriate but the other isn't?--Laurie
"Usage" refers only to how sentences are constructed, as in "He knew all the grammar rules, but his usage was terrible."
"Use" is appropriate in any other situation I know of.
And, as long as we are on the topic, "utilization" is an abomination.
--Linda Bergmann, Purdue University
Using "use" instead of "usage" usually forces you to reconstruct the sentence, which then inevitably gets stronger, clearer, and often switches from passive to active voice. All benefits for the better.
--Tim Wyatt, MaxLite
Next Week's Questions
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What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...Professional Writing Handouts. Our new line of user-centered professional writing materials have begun to appear on the Purdue OWL. The new handouts include Effective Workplace Writing, Audience Analysis, and HATS: A Design Procedure for Routine Business Documents. Special thanks to H. Allen Brizee and Katy A. Schmaling for their hard work.
- OWL Eye On...Quotation Marks. Significantly revised Quotation Marks handouts are now availabe on the Purdue OWL. Special thanks to Mark Pepper and Sean Conrey for their work on the revisions.
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye On...Writing Lab Information Session. The Writing Lab will hold an Information Session on Thursday, November 16, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on the Ground Floor of the Purdue Memorial Union. If you're on campus, please stop by to learn more about our services.
- OWL Eye on...New Comfy Chairs. Check out our comfy office chairs! We have new chairs for all our computer stations in the Writing Lab, making it easier to sit and write that paper or look for sources.
This week's OWL News was edited by Dana Lynn Driscoll.