Here is something I read quite recently, sent out from the Head of House of an Oxford college .... indeed, what makes it even worse, my own college:
"[X] was married in the Chapel just before Christmas. I know everyone will join me in wishing he and Ann the very best.".
That the Head of an Oxford college should be unable to write simple, grammatical English, leaves me speechless. (Before you ask: the man is a historian.)
And, even more recently, I was informed that ... just for a week ... I could access the Catholic Herald without a paywall. So I dipped in.
I shan't dip into that wretched periodical again, not within this millennium, whether it's free or unfree. In it, I found Antonia Fraser writing:
"The cinema was another Oxford pleasure throughout the year -- slightly more complicated by my brother Thomas and I wanting to watch films which needed an adult to accompany a child.".
Fraser has written books; she came from a literate and literary family ... her father would have been ashamed of her ... and, indeed, she had a lengthy extra-marital affair with a notable playwright. His name was Pinter, and I bet he wouldn't have written English with such miserable illiteracy (but then, he had the advantage of being Jewish).
I suppose the once great but now failing Catholic Herald is so strapped for cash nowadays that they can't afford to employ subeditors.
Yes, I know that in 'language' matters, usage is overriding. I remember, at school, the French Master ending any argument by saying "Seventy million Frenchmen disagree". However much I may squirm and whinge, I can't get round this simple fact. It applies and always has applied to every known human language.
Mind you, I think this usage is very unfair to foreigners trying to learn a language which is already as difficult as English is. Hence, it is xenophobic or even racist. In my view, those ideologues who are trying to ram this irrational construction down our throats are pretty well guilty of Hate Speech (and should be locked up). As they win their philological victory, poor Johnny Foreigner will be faced by an ultrapedantic grammatical rule which will have to go something like this:
When a pronoun is linked by a conjunction with a noun (or another pronoun), that pronoun must always be placed in the nominative case, without any regard to the syntax of the sentence or clause.
Or can you think of a snappier way of saying it? So the poor students will have to memorise such useless and pompous twaddle and try to remember to obey it. Latin and Greek grammar, as traditionally taught to tiny boys in English Prep Schools, tends to be thought of nowadays as having been obscurantist, but I don't think it knew any complexities as arcane and ridiculous, as purely useless, as contra-utilitarian, as this.
It's not new. Back in the Seventies, I heard a collegue ... a Wykehamist!! ... referring to "Paul and I's study". And I remember another colleague having a mighty argument with a girl student who, poor child, had been indoctrinated by her parents (I infer that they must have been of the Aspirant Peasant Classes like Trollope's Mrs Lookaloft) to believe that saying "I" when the grammar requires "me" was the very height of conversational gentility.
I always, if I spot it, delete from my blog all comments which include this disgusting usage.
After all, this is my blog.