Ron Gets a Grammar Lesson

DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters. I make no money from this.

Ron Weasley approached Hermione Granger in the Gryffindor common room with a parchment in his hand.

"Hey, Hermione, Harry and me wondered if you could look over our potions essays for us."

"It's 'Harry and I', Ronald. The correct way to say it is Harry and I." Hermione subtly shook her head and her friend's ignorance. Don't they teach wizards proper grammar, she thought. Then she shook her head more forcefully to clear the prejudiced thought from her mind. It wasn't just wizards who had no grasp of rudimentary grammar; bad usage was endemic. "Fine, Ronald. I'll look over your essays. Get Harry over here."

Ron called out across the common room. "Hey, Harry. She's going to help us. Come over here with Hermione and I."

Hermione huffed. "It's 'Hermione and me', Ronald. Really, don't you want to speak correctly so that people will respect your intelligence?"

Ron sputtered. "But, but you just said that it was 'Harry and I'. Now you're saying that it's 'Hermione and me'. What's the right way to say it?"

"It's situational, Ron."

A blank look fell over Ron's face as he tried to figure out what the word 'situational' meant. After staring at Hermione for over thirty seconds, Ron just shook his head. "What?"

"It means that sometimes you use 'Harry and I' and sometimes you use 'Hermione and me'. It all depends on the situation you're discussing. For example, I would say 'Ginny and I went to Honeydukes that last time we were in Hogsmeade' and that would be correct. It wouldn't be correct to say 'Ginny and me went to Honeydukes'. By the same token, it would be correct for me to say 'Professor Snape gave detention to Harry and me for breathing too loudly'. Do you see the difference?"

Ron wasn't stupid. His ability to see eight moves ahead in chess proved that he was skilled in pattern recognition. Ron was, however, lazy; he seized on the first pattern that popped into his head. "I think I've got it Herms" –

"It's Hermione, not 'Herms', Ronald."

"Okay. Sorry. Don't get your knickers in a twist. Let's get back to this Grandma" –

"Grammar."

"Right, then. Grammar thing. How's this: 'Harry and I played Wizard's Chess last night right after Colin took a picture of Ginny and me."

"That's right, Ronald. I think you've got it. Try another."

"Neville played Exploding Snap with Hermione and me."

Hermione beamed. It appeared that Ron had learned this lesson quickly. "That's very good, Ronald. Do you see what you can accomplish when you apply yourself?"

Ron stood just a little bit taller. Praise from Hermione felt great. "Okay, then. Now that that's out of the way will you go over the potions essay with Harry and I?"

Hermione's shoulders slumped. Apparently Ronald could only get it right once in a row, or by blind luck. "Ronald, why did you say 'Harry and I' when the context clearly called for your to say 'Harry and me"? You did listen to my examples, didn't you?"

Ron was confused and a little angry. "But I did follow your examples. When it's two blokes or two birds you use 'I'. When it's a mix of birds and blokes you use 'me'."

Hermione pinched the bridge of her nose to stave off the headache that was coming. "How could you possibly think that? The gender of the person has nothing to do with it."

"But all your examples were like that. Every time you used two blokes it was 'I'. Every time you used two birds it was 'I'. It was only when you had a mix that you used 'me'."

Hermione replayed her explanation to Ron in her mind. She did, inadvertently, use the selection of genders just as Ron had said and somehow led him to a really weird "rule". "Oh, Ron, I'm sorry. I can see why the examples I gave you could have confused you. I should have just told you the rule rather than give you examples that could be misconstrued."

Ron didn't know the meaning of "misconstrued" but he knew what "sorry" meant. Hermione was telling him that the mistake was not his fault.

"So, here's the rule, Ron. Let's say for example – and only for an example – that we'll be talking about you and a person named 'X'. You will say 'X and I' when you are the subject. You'll say 'X and me' when you are the object. Are we clear on this?"

Ron was still struggling. "I don't know what you're talking about. " In his mind subjects the classes he took and objects were like things.

Ron was really trying to understand this, so Hermione was determined to be as patient as she needed to be. "Okay, Ron. I can see these are terms that you're not used to. Let's break it down. When you're talking about grammar and sentence structure a subject is something or someone that does something. An object is someone or something that has something done to it. Here's an example: in the sentence 'Harry caught the snitch' what is the subject – the thing or person doing something?'

Ron's face lit up. "It's Harry. Harry is the subject because he's doing something." Feeling confident, Ron continued, and the object would be the snitch because Harry did something to it; he caught it."

Hermione jumped up and gave Ron a hug. "Well done, Ron. So let's expand to when we use "X and me" and when we use 'X and I'. Are you ready?"

Ron liked the hug. He really liked the hug. He'd do anything for another one. When did hugs from Hermione get so fun? "Okay, Hermione. I'm ready

Hermione chewed on her lower lip, forming her question. "Is it correct to say that 'X and I' went to the Great Hall, or would it be 'X and me'?"

Ron thought a bit. "Right, then. The subject is 'X and I' because they're doing something; they're going the Great Hall."

Hermione smiled. "Yes. Excellent. Now can you give me a sentence where you and X are the object?"

Ron said, "Dumbledore gave five points to Hermione and me."

"I think you've got it, Ron."

Ron blushed at the praise. "Thanks, Hermione. Sure, I got it right this last time, but I know I'm going to mess up this subject and object thing. This takes a lot of thinking."

"But now you know the rules, Ron. And because you know the rules, I can now give you a quick way to determine if you're going to use I or me correctly. In your head, just take the other person out of the sentence. You'll be able to tell which sounds right. Take this sentence and tell me if it's correct: 'Ginny and me ate chocolate frogs last night."

In his head, Ron replayed the sentence and – just like Hermione advised – took the other person out of the sentence. He laughed out loud. "Cor! That was funny, Hermione. In my head I heard 'Me ate chocolate frogs last night' and the voice in my head sounded just like Goyle. That's probably because it sounded so stupid. I really do think I'll be able to remember this by talking the other person out of the picture. Thanks, Hermione."