As a writer, journalist, English minor, and soon-to-be English teacher, I encounter a large amount of, shall we say, creative uses of English online. Sometimes it comes from a generation that has read things without actually hearing them in context, sometimes from people wanting to sound smart, sometimes just mistakes that have been ingrained for years.
Now, I want to make it clear that I'm not saying I'm the highest authority in the land and, even within the hallowed realms of this blog, I've made some serious grammatical (and, ergh... even spelling) errors, but I do strive to make things as good as I can. So, in the spirit of merely making people aware rather than attempting to tell them they're wrong, let me share just a couple things I see coming up on a regular basis.
1. I vs Me
When I was younger a lot of people used "you and me," regardless of context. It was, most of the time, the incorrect usage, and I recall there being quite a fuss in school about making sure that the proper usage was taught. Then, maybe ten years later, I started noticing "you and I" becoming more prevalent. And more. And more.
Let me make this plain: both are valid depending on context. I feel like too many people default to "you and I" because it sounds smarter, but there are contexts where it isn't correct. If you want the long answer, which deals with subjects versus objects, check these links to Dictionary.com and Oxford Dictionaries. Long story short, if you want to know which one to use, just drop the "you" (or whatever happens to be in its place.) You and I should go to the movies some time --> I should go to the movies sometime. She gave the last of the brownies to my husband and me ---> She gave the last of the brownies to me. Easy, right?
2. "Third World Countries"
What do you think of when you think "Third World Countries?" Maybe a more developing nation, someplace with little access to clean water, good healthcare, or little technological advances? You know, like Ireland, Switzerland, and Sweden?
Third World Country has come to mean a "poor" country, but that's not where the term originates. During the Cold War, the world's nations were divided up by allegiance. The First World, which we take nowadays to mean "rich and developed" was originally just supposed to refer to the US, Canada, Australia, and it's various allies. The Second World was Russia, of course, along with China and other communist nations that were allied with them. That left every other country not allied with either as the Third World. Here's a wiki article to elaborate.
Now, there is a correlation to some degree that a good chunk of the Third World countries were less developed. But that wasn't what the term was about. Check out this map. Blue is First World, red Second World, and green Third World.
Fortunately the term is falling out of favor as many institutions prefer the term "developing nations," so the point is slowly resolving itself (despite the resolution itself still being based on misinformation, but... whatever.) Still, from time to time, I do hear the term tossed around casually. There's no malice behind the original meaning because it never meant what people tend to think it does today.
I hope you guys enjoyed that and I hope it helps with your writing a little. I'll likely do another "Tidbits" as I have an ever growing list of things that I feel need addressing but which, individually, do not warrant full blog posts, so keep your eye out for that.
Don't Forget to be Awesome
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.