The Jump Start Comic Strip Teaches Us a Pronoun Rule

Jump Start is one of my favorite comic strips – there’s a delightful set of characters who manage to be funny day after day. And there’s a bonus: Robb Armstrong, the creator, cares about good English. A lot. There’s even a character (Dot) who relentlessly corrects everyone’s English.

Better yet: Other characters in the strip are just as skillful with English usage.

Take today’s strip, for example (look for January 14 when you get to the Jump Start website):

Captain Ruiz wants to talk to Joe
Captain Ruiz wants to talk to Joe

Many people would have written Captain Ruiz’s request this way: “Crunchy, will you please leave Joe and I alone for a moment?” because they think I sounds more elegant than me.

So how come a stickler for grammar (cartoonist Robb Armstrong) has Captain Ruiz using me in that sentence?

Because me is the correct pronoun – that’s why.

Enter the Thumb Rule. Whenever you’re confused about a pronoun (I or me? He or him? She or her? Us or we?), use your thumb to make the sentence shorter. You will instantly hear the correct pronoun.

Let’s try it.

“Crunchy, will you please leave Joe and I alone for a moment?”

“Leave I alone”? Nope.

Let’s try it again.

 ”Crunchy, will you please leave Joe and me alone for a moment?”

“Leave me alone” – yep. The correct pronoun is me.

Here’s the correct sentence once again:

 “Crunchy, will you please leave Joe and me alone for a moment?”  CORRECT

To learn more about The Thumb Rule, click here and read Rule 3.

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