Raphael is completely right about the grammar, and I cannot help
repeating that it is not a matter of anyone's way of reading or opinion. It is
a clear grammatical construction of the kind Raphael explains and with--as
I keep noting--the plural nominative as the implied "we."
It is not a mistake.
It is not "poetic license."
It is not a convoluted arrangement of any kind.
It is perfectly standard English syntax, recognizable by any native speaker.
And it does matter because Eliot was scrupulous about grammar and
punctuation. When he deviates, it is clear what he is doing, and I cannot
think of any occasion when it is a grammatical change unless it is a
character who would speak that way.
I think Raphael has made it much more clear why it cannot be in
apposition to "us."
Just to get feedback, I asked our linguistics professor, who studies and
teaches history of the language and writes on grammar, what the function
of "you and I" is, and he immediately said the same--it is perfectly correct
and in the nominative as the subject.
Date sent: Mon, 7 Apr 2003 21:27:36 +0200
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: INGELBIEN RAPHAEL <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Grammar (you and I)
To: [log in to unmask]
From: Rickard A. Parker
> > IF the apposition is to "us," who or what is the subject of the
> That might depend on the magic in the word "let." Is the default
> subject of "let" some unnamed power? In other languages a subject is
> not always needed.
I guess the problem is that English has a rather intricate form for the
1st person plural of the imperative. Many other languages have a single
verb form, conjugated in the first person plural - the (implied) subject
is then clearly the equivalent of 'we'. Ex: French: 'allons'.
Since the rather anomalous construction 'let us' corresponds to a first
person plural imperative in other languages, it makes perfect semantic
sense to say 'let us go, then, you and I'.
I don't think 'you and I' can be read as an apposition to 'us'. It might
make syntactic sense, but semantically it doesn't work. Replace 'us' by
the apposition: 'Let you and me go' would carry an entirely different
meaning - it would be a request, not an imperative. The speaker in
'Prufrock' is not making a request or suggestion. 'Let us go, then, you
and I': 'then' implies that the decision to go follows quite logically
from what the speaker and the addressee have said before.
> In the French though it is "you and me"
> Mon cher ami, nous ne sommes pas très loin, vous et moi, ...
The first person pronoun 'je' can only be used in a direct subject
position. In every other case, 'je' becomes 'moi' - even when it is an
apposition to a subject.
No apologies made to the grammar-bashers on the list - none whatsoever ;-
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