An Open Letter to the Grammar Police

Dear Grammar Police,

I wanted to thank you publicly for noticing a grammatical error in my recent column with regard to my use of the pronoun “I.”

Apparently I had written, “the kids and I,” when I should have said “the kids and me.”  This was a gross error of unparalleled magnitude and I apologize profusely for committing this miscarriage of syntax and offending your finely tuned grammatical sensibilities.  I realize that as a writer, I should be well-schooled in the use of “I vs. Me,” but it’s (its?) often difficult to remember all the rules when I’m focused on much less important things like making sure my humor column is funny, which, actually, sometimes necessitates breaking beloved grammar rules (the shock, the horror).green-blackboard The truth is, there (their? they’re?) are so many rules to remember, (:? ;?) such as not ending a sentence with a preposition like another writer does who (whom? that?) I went to school with.   Or a sentence fragment.  And starting a sentence with a conjunction.

I’m sure my 3rd grade English teacher Mrs. Kinsler (may she rest in peace. Or is it piece?) would be appalled to know that I had not yet mastered the “I vs. Me” rule.  She once sent a letter home to my parents and I (me and my parents?) about my ongoing problems with this rule, and one time she even sent me to the principal (principle??) because of it.  He assured Mrs. Kinsler that

…in spite of my grammatical challenges, I would, in all likelihood, manage to eek through 3rd grade English, and might even learn enough from this embarrassing situation to one day become an english teacher myself, or at the very least, a newspaper copy editor.

Still, neither the principal nor Mrs. Kinsler could have anticipated that certain grammatical concepts might continue to be an issue for me as an adult (well, Mrs. Kinsler probably did), and I must admit, I am somewhat ashamed that while I no longer end a sentence with a preposition, I vs. Me is something I still have a problem with.

Sadly, as a writer in today’s technological age, I have become lazy and prefer to spend my time lying (laying?) around eating bon bons and letting the computer’s spell and grammar check do the work for me.  This is a continual (continuous?) challenge for me and something I know I need to work on because it affects (effects?) my readers who (whom?) count on me to get it right (write?  rite?  Jeez.).  I plan to address this forthwith (in a fortnight, actually, if I am being forthcoming), and assure you my editors and I (and me?  Me and my editors? Whatever) will make every attempt to make sure this does not happen again.

Thank you so much for your understanding. You sound like someone I could really be friends with.

Sincerely, or most sincerely, but definitely not sincerefully,


Tracy Beckerman



Filed under The Writer's Life

5 responses to “An Open Letter to the Grammar Police

  1. Carol Baron

    The second time your wrote Mrs. Kindler, you spelled it Mrs. Kindler. ( and I am not the grammar or spelling police). Mom Sent from my iPad


  2. And furthermore (farthermore); Im shure that this tympgraffikul erir made all the difrunce in the world to somebody. (Really? Everybody’s a critic!) I luv ur resonzce&

  3. Yeah, go get them. As I always say, an eye for an I. A me for a me, maybe?

    My grammar is fine, by the way. A little frail, and her memory is fading, but doing great for her age