A Grammar Lesson with Two Small Errors

This can be called a style issue, or maybe even a good taste issue, but it’s a readability issue.

Here’s the lesson. You probably won’t see the errors:

  • First, you should put quotes around “Me” because you are referring to the word itself. Using italics is okay, too, depending on what your style guide says. The comic is funny because the cartoonist didn’t put the quotes around “me” in the first panel, leading you to think the horse was going to talk about himself, not the word.
  • Second, that slash between “him” and “herself.” Use “or.” (Or use “and” if that’s appropriate.) Many people use the slash when they can’t decide which conjunction to use. Don’t be lazy! Decide!
  • sigh. I may as well mention a third possible mistake. When you have two (or more) compound words and want to mention the second part only once, put a hyphen after that first separated part. Write “him- or herself.”