All by myself

It’s tricky to know when to say myself in English.
In general, do not use myself to replace me or I.
Myself should be used either as a reflexive word (hitpael) or as an intensifier.
Examples of using myself as a reflexive word:
• I bought myself a new watch.
• I gave myself a pat on the back.
Examples of using myself as an intensifier:
• I ate it all myself.
• I couldn’t do it all myself, so I asked a friend for help.
• I myself don’t like turkey.
Wrong use of myself:
• Tsachi and myself sit in the same cubicle.
• Dror went to lunch with Ofer and myself.

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Who are you?

Confused about when to say who and when to say whom?
Good: it’s complicated.
First of all – only say who and whom when talking about people.
Here’s the rule: use who when you are talking about the subject of a sentence; use whom when you are talking about the object of a sentence.
A trick: if you would switch the question for the pronoun he/she/we/they use who; if you would switch the question for the pronoun him/her/them/us use whom.
Like this:
• He likes tomatoes. Who likes tomatoes?
• Lisa (she) uses Windows Live Messenger. Who uses Windows Live Messenger?
• We aren’t providing multimedia support in the product. Who isn’t providing multimedia support in the product?

• Einam is having lunch with him. With whom is Einam having lunch?
• They really appreciate the tech support team (them). They appreciate whom?
• We spoke with their sales woman (her). With whom did you speak?

Advice: While I haven’t actually researched this, I think that most of today’s English speakers say who almost all the time.
That doesn’t mean it’s correct, but it does mean that if you’re not sure and you say who, it’s unlikely anyone will correct you or laugh at you.
Whereas whom has become so infrequently used that it’s beginning to sound a bit archaic (like thus and hence, but I’ll save that for another week).

Can I or May I?

This week I read a lot of documents that incorrectly used the phrase “the customer may.”

Can means to be able to. May means to have permission to.

When we talk about enabling the customer to do something, or different features available to the customer, we are talking about things that he is ABLE to do. Things the customer can or cannot do.

Whereas when we talk about things our parents/teachers/employers do and don’t allow us to do, we’re talking about PERMISSION.

Things the child/student/employee may or may not do.

Here are some examples:

  • Subscriber may can configure the service to ring on a single device
  • User-authentication information may can be stored externally

 May should be used only when talking about permission:

  • Mom, may I stay out late?
  • Avner decided that you may attend the conference in Hawaii.

Capitalization

Usually, when we write documents, the headings use what we call title caps.

This is also true for much of the text in a UI.

Capitalization rules are complex, but here are a few tips for how to get it right:

  • Always capitalize the first and last words
  • Capitalize ALL other words except:
  • Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the)
  • Do not capitalize coordinate conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or)
  • Do not capitalize prepositions (of, to, in, for, on, with, as, by, at, from)
  • Do not capitalize to in infinitive phrases (How to Install Awesome Product)