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Give I your attention



"The victory was the 14th in a row for Klitschko and improved his record to 17-2 in title fights. More important, he captured Haye's version of the heavyweight title, giving he and his brother, Vitali, all the major heavyweight title belts."

Coincidentally, I read about Wladimir Klitschko's success just after receiving an e-mail from Jim von Tungeln:

"The assault on the objective case is reaching alarming proportions when Ph.D. friends and Harvard grads say things like 'They are asking he and I to set up a remedial English program.' The real shocker came in a Book TV segment when a lady introduced as an honored alum of Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism began her speech with 'Thank you for having my sister and I here as guests.' "

Overrefinement has long caused problems of the sort Mr. von Tungeln mentions. People get the idea that him and me are coarse, so they replace them with he and I even when him and me are correct. Whether the problem is getting worse, as Mr. von Tungeln suggests, I can't say, but I wouldn't be surprised. Pretension and ignorance seem to flourish.

Parker Westbrook writes:

"For some time, I have been concerned about (what I consider) the misplacement of the word only. For instance, 'It only lasts a few minutes' should be 'It lasts only a few minutes.' "

He has a point, as always, but not all the authorities agree with that point. The usage manual "Success With Words" says "It is a traditional maxim of style that the adverb only is best placed immediately before the word or phrase it qualifies ..." [the Westbrook approach]. But the manual goes on to say, "The placement of only immediately before the element it qualifies is usually a matter of style and preference, not of grammar or correctness. Do it if you like the effect, but don't feel you have to do it unless a real change in meaning would otherwise occur."

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