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1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:02 am UTC
by thunk
Image

Alt-text: "It me, your father."

It was you, clearly.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:16 am UTC
by rhomboidal
Even Sith Lords tremble before Grammar Nazis.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:18 am UTC
by NaCl
Personally, I don't feel we've gone fully into archaism until I can spot Chaucer sitting outside the window of our domicile being the literary equivalent of the town gossip.

Oh, and Vader's correct, of course. "It was I" can be continued without a break. "It was me" is a declaration that should always be the end of a sentence.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:38 am UTC
by Eutychus
Shouldn't that be "faced with"?

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:42 am UTC
by flicky1991
I don't want to live in a world where the object of "to be" gets an accusative pronoun, because that gives us "Whom are you?"

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:55 am UTC
by da Doctah
Aw, c'mon! In a galaxy where there are people who talk like Yoda and others who talk like Jar-Jar Binks, and nobody says boo to either of them, you're going to make a big deal about this?

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:03 am UTC
by kevo31415
I disagree with the message here. English copulas take nominative predicates. It's ok in everyday parlance to use the accusative because it "sounds more normal" and we shouldn't be too nitpicky about grammar in casual settings, but to say the correct usage is wrong is quite off base.

If you called me on the phone and asked "Is this Kevin?" and I answered, "Yes, this is he," would you correct me?

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:05 am UTC
by Copper Bezel
flicky1991 wrote:I don't want to live in a world where the object of "to be" gets an accusative pronoun, because that gives us "Whom are you?"

Lucky that "whom" is disappearing entirely, then....

Plus, I actually don't think your math works on the first place. If it's "I am Fred" but "Fred is me", it would never be "Whom are" in the first place.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:15 am UTC
by flicky1991
Copper Bezel wrote:Plus, I actually don't think your math works on the first place. If it's "I am Fred" but "Fred is me", it would never be "Whom are" in the first place.

If "who" were the subject, it would be "Who is you?" The "are" indicates that "you" is the subject.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:28 am UTC
by azule
thunk wrote:Image

Alt-text: "It me, your father."

It you, clearly.

FTFY

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:58 am UTC
by chridd
I not familiar with the construction "it me". It confusing at first. It dialectal, or some sort of meme (like lolspeak or I accidentally), or reference to some work, or something made up for the comic?

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:10 am UTC
by ThemePark
Itsa me, Mario!

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:05 am UTC
by orthogon
Steven Pinker wrote: The rule [that a pronoun serving as the complement of be must be in nominative case] is a product of the usual three confusions: English with Latin, informal style with incorrect grammar, and syntax with semantics.


I wonder whether Randall has been reading A Sense of Style...

Linguistics and Star Wars. What's not to like?

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:54 am UTC
by Copper Bezel
flicky1991 wrote:
Copper Bezel wrote:Plus, I actually don't think your math works on the first place. If it's "I am Fred" but "Fred is me", it would never be "Whom are" in the first place.

If "who" were the subject, it would be "Who is you?" The "are" indicates that "you" is the subject.

Well, no, because "who" has no number. Again, I'm not offering a counterproposal, but your math continues to be dubious.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:34 am UTC
by chridd
Copper Bezel wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:
Copper Bezel wrote:Plus, I actually don't think your math works on the first place. If it's "I am Fred" but "Fred is me", it would never be "Whom are" in the first place.

If "who" were the subject, it would be "Who is you?" The "are" indicates that "you" is the subject.

Well, no, because "who" has no number. Again, I'm not offering a counterproposal, but your math continues to be dubious.
Other points in favor of you being the subject there:
Who are you not? makes more sense than *Who are not you?; compare, Who am I not seeing? (I is subject, not comes after the subject), and Who is not seeing me? (who is subject, not comes right after is).
Who am I?: who could be indeterminate in number and take either form, but being able to take a first person form would be much weirder.
and, most relevant to the form in question:
• If who were the subject and we followed the object-form rule this comic is talking about, then we'd get sentences like Who is him?, which is clearly worse and the original point still stands.

Still, we probably wouldn't get "Whom are you?", because it seems unlikely to me that anyone who'd say "It was me" would also use "whom" for direct objects in the same context/level of formality (since "whom" seems more formal/prescriptivist/old-fashioned than "it was I", at least to me).

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:29 pm UTC
by cellocgw
flicky1991 wrote:
Copper Bezel wrote:Plus, I actually don't think your math works on the first place. If it's "I am Fred" but "Fred is me", it would never be "Whom are" in the first place.

If "who" were the subject, it would be "Who is you?" The "are" indicates that "you" is the subject.


Actually[1} it would be "Who's on first."


[1] 1318

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:32 pm UTC
by Weeks
Image

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:34 pm UTC
by GlassHouses
Approaching "who are you" from another angle, it's an interrogative form, which in modern English is usually formed using "to do": compare archaic "what say you" with modern "what do you say." The verb "to be" just happens to be immune from the "to do" variation.

Based on that analogy, "who" would be the object.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:57 pm UTC
by flicky1991
Copper Bezel wrote:Well, no, because "who" has no number.

"The man, who comes from London..."
"The men, who come from London..."
Yes it does.
Then again, "You, who comes from London..." sounds wrong to me - I'm tempted to say "come" even if talking about just one person... so maybe it's based on both number and person, like other pronouns. In which case, "Who are you" is still ambiguous.

GlassHouses wrote:Based on that analogy, "who" would be the object.

That works just as well if "who" is the subject though - "Who said that?" has exactly the same structure as "Who are you?" and has "who" as the subject...

To conclude, I retract my earlier viewpoint and concede that I have no idea what the subject of "Who are you?" is.

----

EDIT:

I just considered "Who am I?", but even that doesn't disambiguate. "I, who am a Londoner..."

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:18 pm UTC
by cellocgw
Who are you?
Doot-doot ; doot-doot;
who are you, you you you--oo --oo
I really wanna know

(god I hate that song)

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:35 pm UTC
by HokieNerd
Whew, glad somebody cleared that one up.

Now, if somebody could explain what he's saying WRT the "centrally moon", that'd be just greaaaaaat. :?

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:13 pm UTC
by Murderbot
Is the Emperor sitting on a talking chair, like Stephen Hawking?
da Doctah wrote:Aw, c'mon! In a galaxy where there are people who talk like Yoda and others who talk like Jar-Jar Binks, and nobody says boo to either of them, you're going to make a big deal about this?
I think we should hold the Emperor of the Free World to a higher standard than a bumbling buffoon and a mystical monk.

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:13 pm UTC
by miket
It is I who thinks that the impertenent boy should be left dangling on the ceiling.

Then there is my favorite exchange in all of television:
Sir Humphrey: The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight has been the subject of recent discussion is not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as certain previous disclosures may have led you to assume; but not to put too fine a point on it, the individual in question is, it may surprise you to learn, one whom your present interlocutor is in the habit of defining by means of the perpendicular pronoun.
Hacker: I beg your pardon?
Sir Humphrey: It was... I.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:35 pm UTC
by BrandonH66
HokieNerd wrote:Whew, glad somebody cleared that one up.

Now, if somebody could explain what he's saying WRT the "centrally moon", that'd be just greaaaaaat. :?


He's actually saying "Sanctuary moon of Endor." This is harder to hear becuase it is one of very few times that the moon is referred to in this manner.

The Emperor's original line about allowing the Rebel Alliance to learn a lot of information continues to sound great and correct in Return of the Jedi.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:11 pm UTC
by cellocgw
Murderbot wrote:Is the Emperor sitting on a talking chair, like Stephen Hawking?
da Doctah wrote:Aw, c'mon! In a galaxy where there are people who talk like Yoda and others who talk like Jar-Jar Binks, and nobody says boo to either of them, you're going to make a big deal about this?
I think we should hold the Emperor of the Free World to a higher standard than a bumbling buffoon and a mystical monk.


Wait, are we still talking about StarWars or did you switch to PEOTUS?

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:58 pm UTC
by freezeblade
cellocgw wrote:
Murderbot wrote:Is the Emperor sitting on a talking chair, like Stephen Hawking?
da Doctah wrote:Aw, c'mon! In a galaxy where there are people who talk like Yoda and others who talk like Jar-Jar Binks, and nobody says boo to either of them, you're going to make a big deal about this?
I think we should hold the Emperor of the Free World to a higher standard than a bumbling buffoon and a mystical monk.


Wait, are we still talking about StarWars or did you switch to PEOTUS?

I'm guessing both, as Trump is the Emperor.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:49 pm UTC
by WibblyWobbly
kevo31415 wrote:If you called me on the phone and asked "Is this Kevin?" and I answered, "Yes, this is he," would you correct me?


Yes, but only to request you say instead "I am he" and then break out into "I Am the Walrus."

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:30 pm UTC
by aerion111
Murderbot wrote:Is the Emperor sitting on a talking chair, like Stephen Hawking?
da Doctah wrote:Aw, c'mon! In a galaxy where there are people who talk like Yoda and others who talk like Jar-Jar Binks, and nobody says boo to either of them, you're going to make a big deal about this?
I think we should hold the Emperor of the Free World to a higher standard than a bumbling buffoon and a mystical monk.

I assume you meant that irrespective?
Though I suppose there is a case to be made for calling Yoda a buffoon at times, and Jar-Jar certainly has some monk-like qualities at times.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:44 pm UTC
by kalira
da Doctah wrote:Aw, c'mon! In a galaxy where there are people who talk like Yoda and others who talk like Jar-Jar Binks, and nobody says boo to either of them, you're going to make a big deal about this?


Well, GrammarNazi!Luke never met JarJar. And as far as Yoda goes, don't you think it's a little suspicious he suddenly dies right as Luke gets back to him from Cloud City when he wasn't at all ill beforehand? Clearly faked his death so as to avoid any more annoying lectures from GN!Luke regarding his way of speaking.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:03 pm UTC
by somitomi
WibblyWobbly wrote:
kevo31415 wrote:If you called me on the phone and asked "Is this Kevin?" and I answered, "Yes, this is he," would you correct me?


Yes, but only to request you say instead "I am he" and then break out into "I Am the Walrus."

You say goodbye, I say hello.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:37 pm UTC
by gd1
Weeks wrote:Image


Sona... Masaka... Bakana...

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:48 pm UTC
by ps.02
flicky1991 wrote:That works just as well if "who" is the subject though - "Who said that?" has exactly the same structure as "Who are you?" and has "who" as the subject...

The apparent grammatical parallel doesn't hold up when you bring in semantics, though, nor for that matter when you look closer at the grammar: to say is transitive, to be is not.

Anyway, it gets clearer if you put the verb into other tenses. E.g., "Who would you rather be?" or "Who might you have been?" Which clearly do not mean "Who would rather be you?" or "Who might have been you?"

Alternatively, substitute somebody for who:
- Somebody said that. (subj.: somebody)
- *Somebody is you. (subj: somebody)
- You are somebody. (subj: you)
The second line is grammatical, but poorly matches the semantics of the question.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:29 am UTC
by flicky1991
ps.02 wrote:Alternatively, substitute somebody for who:
- Somebody said that. (subj.: somebody)
- *Somebody is you. (subj: somebody)
- You are somebody. (subj: you)
The second line is grammatical, but poorly matches the semantics of the question.

Ah, now this one has me quite convinced.

OK, I go back to my original position. "You" is the subject of "Who are you?". Therefore, if you say "It is me.", then you'd logically say "Whom are you?", if you are the kind of person who says "whom".

Right? :mrgreen:

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:01 am UTC
by rmsgrey
flicky1991 wrote:OK, I go back to my original position. "You" is the subject of "Who are you?". Therefore, if you say "It is me.", then you'd logically say "Whom are you?", if you are the kind of person who says "whom".

Right? :mrgreen:


I think I need to see that written down before I can get it straight.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:27 am UTC
by zjxs
chridd wrote:I not familiar with the construction "it me". It confusing at first. It dialectal, or some sort of meme (like lolspeak or I accidentally), or reference to some work, or something made up for the comic?


It meme.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:33 am UTC
by commodorejohn
I like narrow-shouldered slouchy Vader. He looks like he should be the hapless protagonist in an office sitcom.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:57 am UTC
by ps.02
flicky1991 wrote:"You" is the subject of "Who are you?". Therefore, if you say "It is me.", then you'd logically say "Whom are you?", if you are the kind of person who says "whom".

Well... are there people who simultaneously want to reach for the formality of whom but the informality of It is me? Maybe some. Maybe it's some of the same people who think the plural of virus is *virii (and therefore the singular for radii is *radus).

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:10 am UTC
by flicky1991
I never saw "whom" as formal - just following an older standard.

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:20 am UTC
by Mikeski
da Doctah wrote:Aw, c'mon! In a galaxy where there are people who talk like Yoda and others who talk like Jar-Jar Binks, and nobody says boo to either of them, you're going to make a big deal about this?

But they aren't human. We don't expect those people to speak correctly...

Re: 1771: "It Was I"

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:08 am UTC
by orthogon
ps.02 wrote:Alternatively, substitute somebody for who:
- Somebody said that. (subj.: somebody)
- *Somebody is you. (subj: somebody)
- You are somebody. (subj: you)

Damn right, I'm somebody!

EDIT: linkified, for those who've yet to discover Fred Wesley and the J.B.s.

ETA: I'd forgotten about the massive vibroslap hit at the very end.