Not 2-1S, but 1-3P

Today’s notable NomConjObj, from MSNBC reporter Garrett Haake in Clyde OH (a Whirlpool appliance company town), talking about the effect of tariff increases on appliance dealers, with reference to:

… the price disparity between they and their competitors

Oh my, a nominative conjoined object about as far from the central examples of the construction as you can get (so not in my selective NomConjObj files): 1-3P between they and their competitors (pronoun in 1st position, 3rd person pronoun, singular pronoun) rather than the very common 2-1S (as in between my competitors and I). One for the files!

On the other hand, the ConjObj is an object of a P (rather than a direct object), which is a congenial environment for Noms — in fact, the object of the P between, the P of between you and I, an expression that seems to have become a conventionalized formula, usable even by some people who aren’t otherwise NomConjObj speakers.

The MSNBC bit came on too recently to be available on-line, but here’s Haake in Clyde on 8/1/18, with the story “Ohio Whirlpool plant runs hot and cold on tariffs”:

More examples. With Haake’s example in hand, I googled on “between they and”. After wading through a mind-bogging array of examples with mentioned rather than used pronouns — “difference beween they and them”, “relationship between “they” and its antecedent”, that sort of thing — I came across a fair number of relevant examples, for instance:

On Monday, March 25, Caswell County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carter recommended to the Board of Education to accept the memorandum of understanding between they and the Caswell County Commissioners regarding the construction of Bartlett Yancey High School and safety upgrades for all county schools. (link)

The No. 8-ranked WashU men finished with a 64 point advantage between they and the runner-up, totaling 232 points for the 2019 UAA Outdoor T&F title. (link)

Good luck with your British pride as your nation is overrrun by drug mafias and substance addicted officials. Between they and the idiots in power, I give the UK 10-14 years before they become just like the nations they mock all the time. (link)

The first two are from news stories, the third from the comments blog in the Economist — characteristically, from the educated middle class, people who appear to have been the vectors for the triumph of Nom over Acc ConjObjs in recent decades (as reported on this blog in several postings), people who might be inclined to see NomConjObjs as both more emphatic and more formal than the older standard Acc.

3 Responses to “Not 2-1S, but 1-3P”

  1. [BLOG] Some Saturday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky looks at the latest evolutions of […]

  2. blue sky Says:

    The Whirlpool story is online now, here.

    The written examples of “they” for “them” strike me as weak evidence, since they could also be typing completion errors. (By this argument, I/me and she/her are strong evidence, and he/him somewhere in between.) Still, if (*if*) those stories were edited, that’s evidence of how unobtrusive NomConjObjs are.

    In the trailer for the upcoming movie Ma, a teenager begs an adult to “buy some booze for my friends and I”. Was it a deliberate choice by the scriptwriter to define the character? I’m going to check the reviews to see if any critics comment on it.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      I’m gathering from the tenor of your comments that you aren’t a NomConjObj user and are suspicious of each report, as possibly having some other explanation or being something extraordinary. I come across at least a dozen examples (in print and in speech, some of it carefully composed) every day, and many times have had my own AccConjObj productions labeled as (illiterate-sounding) *mistakes* — or odd-sounding archaisms — by younger acquaintances (and, especially, by Stanford undergraduate students). “Buy some booze for my friends and I” is simply the norm for the majority of younger English speakers, and isn’t otherwise character-defining. (Well-read young people are of course familiar with AccConjObjs, as quaint old-fashioned usage.)

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