Just 'Between You & Me,' Here Are Some Handy Grammar Tips

April 4, 2015 9:13 AM

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In radio, we don't punctuate — at least, not on the air. Nevertheless, we're honored to meet a woman who is at the pinnacle of punctuation. Mary Norris is a copy editor at The New Yorker, a magazine justly famous for the care it takes with words. The work of very well-known authors has felt the authoritative pressure of her pencil since 1978 — and after a lifetime of improving the words of others, she has written her own book, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. She tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that the title comments on a common mistake, "using 'I' instead of 'me' in phrases such as 'between you and me,' after any preposition or as the object of a verb." How can you tell when you're messing it up? Put the "I" first. "You might make a mistake — I hope not — and say 'between you and I,'" Norris says, "but you would never make the mistake of saying 'between I and you.'"

"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower," that "that" following "the force" indicates that what follows is a phrase or clause that is essential to the meaning of the line. In American English, in printed American English, we use "that" for what we call "a restrictive phrase," that i...

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