Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That is perhaps the single most important — and most polarizing — letter in the alphabet.
“I am a citizen of the world,” Laertius Diogenes once said.
“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him,” said Marc Anthony (via William Shakespeare’s pen).
There is no “I” in team.
Then again, you can’t spell intelligence, intellect, charisma or personality without it.
The letter “I” is for whatever reason considered an almost evil word. Truthfully, I think it just gets a bad rap from a lot of people who just don’t appreciate how important that one little letter is to our language.
Just consider the fact that using “I” to refer to oneself is viewed by many to be a sign of vanity.
But, how would you spell humility without it?
Some journalists abhor the letter “I” when used as a personal pronoun. I know this because I work for one such person.
But, think of it this way: Apple wouldn’t know what to call the iPod, iPhone, iPad and iMac without it.
Then what would we call most of the electronic devices we use for work?
I would like to point out that you technically can’t spell “journalist” or “journalism” without using an “I.”
Heck, you couldn’t even spell “English” to defend it as a language without running into an “I.”
A quick search on quotes.net showed there are 6,232 quotes which begin with the letter “I.”
If “I” is so bad, then why did Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Voltaire, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair and John Adams use it to begin quotes which have gone on to live in infamy?
Also, the word “team” may not have an “I” in it, but “America” does.
If the letter “I” didn’t exist, it’s feasible that the next most important letter in the alphabet – “E” – could step up to plate and replace it in many words.
It’s not an attractive option but it’ll do in a pinch.
What personal pronoun would we use to identify ourselves if we didn’t use the letter “I”?
When you think about it, the letter “E” could be vilified just as much as the “I” has.
You do realize the “E” is necessary to spell “egomaniac” don’t you?
Just think about that the next time you try to underestimate the power of the “I.”
Curt Yeomans is the Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily. He was once challenged by an editor to write a column without using the personal pronoun “I.” He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at email@example.com.