[Ads-l] Baby Me Is Freaking Out

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 31 12:35:40 EST 2019


See Arnold Zwicky on accusative subjects of the form "poor me," "lucky me,"
etc.:

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001762.html

Also discussed here:

https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2016/06/lucky-me.html

On Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 11:05 AM Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:

> In an email about my past expectations about the future, I wrote
> "Ten-year-old me thought that space exploration would have made great
> strides, with colonies on the Moon and missions to Mars.  Twenty-year-old
> me didn't think that."
>
> That would seem to be a rather obvious case of subject-verb disagreement,
> but it took me a moment to realize this.  Then I noted that it would
> obviously be impossible to write "Ten-year-old I . . . ."  Is my only
> option to write "When I was ten, I . . . ."  That's not what I want to
> say.  I left it as it was.
>
> I've seen this construction before, in a webcomic, the lamented Bad
> Machinery, http://scarygoround.com/badmachinery/?date=20130731, where a
> 14-year-old girl described her own imagined reaction to the present:  "Baby
> me is freaking out.  The future is insane!!!"  This did not seem wrong to
> me when I read it.
>
> Should I think of this construction as modifier-me (e.g.,
> "ten-year-old-me")?  What's going on here?  Or is nothing going on and I
> should just learn to live with "When I was ten, I . . . ."?
>
>
> John Baker
>

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