Monday, March 19, 2007

There's No "I" In You

Why do people always refer to "you" when they really mean "I"? I keep thinking people are actually talking about me, and it's really confusing.

Here's a small sampling of quotes I came up with from reading the paper the last couple of days:

"One advantage you have in not ... having this as lifelong ambition is that if it turns out that your calculation is wrong, it's not the end of the world."
- Fred Thompson when discussing his potential run for President

"When you get to March every year and you aren't in the tournament, you can lose confidence in yourself."
- Seth Greenberg, coach of Va. Tech about the NCAA tournament

"But after you win a championship, I think it changes you a little bit and that's what you really focus on . . . we're doing the right things, but it's way too early to get too excited."
- Jimmie Johnson talking about his NASCAR season

4 Comments:

At 3/23/2007 3:08 AM, Anonymous a said...

On second thought, stellar post!
I too have been perturbed by the inaccurate use of the second person pronoun.
I stumbled upon a study done at Yale on children and proper pronoun acquisition. According to the study, ("Using Context and Sensory Data to Learn First and Second Person Pronouns," Gold and Scassellati) "two groups of children in particular are known for their tendency to switch first and second-person pronouns. The first group is autistic children. The second is the congenitally blind."
And now a riddle:
What do Fred Thompson, Seth Greenberg,and Jimmie Johnson have in common with autistic and congenitally blind children? I know. Do you know?

 
At 3/28/2007 1:37 AM, Blogger Ariel Glasner said...

I'm glad I've started to convert the masses to my point of view. Here's another glaring example that I just came across tonight:
The Hall of Famer NFL quarterback, Joe Theismann, was describing his demotion to calling the play by play for college football games instead of NFL games:

"I've been an NFL guy since 1974, so for 33 years now that's been my life," Theismann said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Now you are faced with the prospect of that not being in your future. It would be like training to be a doctor or a lawyer and having them say, 'we would like you to change to another profession.'

 
At 3/28/2007 2:45 AM, Anonymous -Jordan said...

Ariel my friend, this is actually proper English grammar. Every language has an impersonal form, none of which make sense literally. In English it's the use of second person ("when you play in an important game, you tend to get nervous"), in Spanish it's the use of "reflexive" passive sentence ("cuando se juega en un partido importante, se suele ponerse nervioso"), and in hebrew it's the third-person plural (in my best transliteration attempt, "kshe misahkim b'mischak hasuv, n'hiyim lehutzim"). But then I don't think you were really being serious (were you?)

 
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