Language Quirks · Feb 12, 07:17 PM

It’s a peril of living in another country: you notice things the locals don’t pay much attention to. Every nationality has characteristic errors of spelling and grammar. Germans like to refer to a “Happy End”; French are liable to ask “please to” do something. Here’s a couple of errors that I think are characteristic of U.S. citizens.

  1. misplaced first-person nominative. “He’s been very kind to John and I.” It should be “to me”, not “to I”. They have some strange thing they teach in schools here called “sentence diagramming” but apparently it can’t get rid of this tic. Maybe it even makes it worse. Somehow there seems to be a notion that “me” is deprecated, to be avoided.
  2. past tense of “to lead” should be written “led”. The “lead” that rhymes with “led” is Pb. I suspect people want “lead” to be conjugated the same way as “read”.

I don’t really mind these quirks. I know I’ve written “it’s” when I meant “its” and probably vice versa. English has too many strange rules and weirder exceptions. It’s just interesting to see what mistakes otherwise well-educated people make and it’s particularly interesting when those mistakes reveal nationality.

Christian

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