Language Agenda: Grammar Against Grammar
By all standards, he is a synonym of Grammar. This attribute makes him outstanding in the three Ls - Language, Logic, and Law. When he decides to go contrary to the Rules of Grammar, therefore, we can only describe his conduct as a matter of Grammar by Grammar against Grammar. We are referring to the President of a West African Nation revered as the Black Stars of Africa.
In a series of national addresses on Covid-19, this Commander-In-Chief of Oratory has won a degree of admiration from the International Community for effective diction, precision, and conviction.
However, his latest national address contains portions that are inconsistent with grammatical conventions. We of LANGUAGE AGENDA do not see these portions as errors, but as opportunities to learn and to correct our own errors. In fact, the ungrammatical statements of the Literary Guru are blessings to us in our search for language competence.
With all humility, we share with readers the following sentence from the exceptional presidential address:
● "I am very grateful for the great support you have given my Government and I..."
In this sentence, a subjective pronoun has been unconventionally used in place of an objective pronoun. To appreciate the unconventionality of the usage under review, let us revise our notes on Subject Pronouns and Object Pronouns:
As the name suggests, Subject Pronouns are pronouns that are used as subjects - doers of action in sentences. Below is the full list of subject pronouns:
● First Person Singular = I
● Second Person Singular = You
● Third Person Singular = He, She, It
● First Person Plural = We
● Second Person Plural = You (p)
● Third Person Plural = They
Contrarily, Object Pronouns are those that are used as receivers of action. Sometimes they are preceded by prepositions. This implies that they could be objects of verbs or objects of prepositions: They are:
● First Person Singular = Me
● Second Person Singular = You
● Third Person Singular = Him, Her, It
● First Person Plural = Us
● Second Person Plural = You
● Third Person Plural = Them
In view of the above explanation, it may become clear that the appropriate pronoun in the predicate of the sentence in question should be the object of the verb "given." This way, it should be the Object Pronoun "me" NOT the Subject Pronoun "I." Therefore, the grammatically conventional version of the sentence is as follows:
● I am very grateful for the great support you have given my Government and ME...
To maximize comprehension, let us consider the following similar sentences:
● Njelwuni and I have given Wuntiti an Arabic Book.
(Together with Njelwuni, "I" functions as the compound subject of the verb "given." In other words, "I" is among the givers.)
● Wuntiti has given Njelwuni and ME an Arabic Book.
(Together with Njelwuni, "me" functions as the indirect compound object of the verb "given." In other words, "me" is one of the receivers.)
The same explanation applies in the following sentences:
● Bitamsimli and I greet Azinpaga every day.
(Bitamsimli and I = Compound Subject)
● Azinpaga greets Bitamsimli and ME every day.
(Bitamsili and ME = Compound Object)
● WE love daughters of Gbewaa.
(We = Subject of "love")
● Daughters of Gbewaa love US.
(Us = Object of "love")
In conclusion, dear reader, we humbly state that this discourse has been informed by a number of considerations. Firstly, as hinted in the introduction, we see the sentence in question as an opportunity for us to learn and improve. Secondly, we want to encourage the presidential Script Team (Writers of the Speeches of the President) to enhance the quality of their editorial vigilance. Thirdly, we contend that this discourse could boost the morale of fellow learners to resist the fear of being bullied by grammatical errors. Indeed, our fear should not be the tendency to commit errors, but the inability to learn from errors.
Allah is the Best Grammarian.
By Dr. Abubakar Mohammed Marzuq Azindoo
Lecturer, University of Applied Management, Ghana
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."