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David Bowie’s grammar

August 4, 2014

Last night I was listening to Station to Station by David Bowie, and my attention was caught by the line: “Drink, drink, raise your glass, raise your glass high/ Drink to the men who protect you and I”.

Obviously, from a grammatical point of view, that should be “you and me”. As ought to be common knowledge, and as I have pointed out before, the simple way to check whether “you and I” or “you and me” is correct in any given instance is to remove the “you and”. One would never say “the men who protect I”. It has to be me because that’s the object of “protect”.

Usually, this error is the result of hyper-correction – people just have a feeling that I is somehow more correct, in and of itself, than me, maybe because an English teacher corrected them when they wrote “Florence and me went to the mall” or some such. But that probably wasn’t the reason in Bowie’s case – I is there to supply the rhyme, and perhaps it’s right that euphony trumps correctness in this instance. Anyway I don’t want to be too hard on Bowie because it’s a great song.

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