Is good grammar still important? | Opinion | The Guardian
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Separate lessons for grammar may not be required — 40 minutes on sentence construction would drive anyone mad — but I would welcome a strong emphasis on grammar. Sometimes I receive letters and emails which are so badly written they read like drunken Esperanto. I simply do not believe this image you create of a kingdom in which smiling children are currently being taught everything they need to know if they are to write clear English.
As for today's spelling standards, aieeee! The goal of enabling all children to write a clean, clear sentence is not just some airy-fairy desire to recreate the prose of Kipling. Michael Gove is not, as his critics lazily claim, a throwback.
Is good grammar still important?
He is a real meritocrat in that he is trying to make the educational system see that excellence is the greatest liberator of talent, not a suppressor of the poor. Teaching children the "boring" rules of grammar will help them with job applications. It will also, by the by, train their minds. Grammar is not just about grammar: We need those skills if our country is to compete with the likes of China, India, Russia and Brazil. Yes, we British once ruled the world with our firm grasp of grammar, applying its rules to oppress and exploit the ungrammared dusky hordes.
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And now we are in danger of being swamped by the dastardly Chinese, Brazilians and Russians who will hammer us into the floor with their superior grasp of split infinitives. I'm not claiming our schools are perfect, though I do suggest that investment is more important than constantly fiddling with the curriculum. Halve the classroom sizes and you're halfway there. Of course there are many state school teachers who are "thumb-twiddlers" and "work-dodgers", and I'm sure there are many in the private sector just as there are failures and successes among the pupils.
English teachers do work hard to instil the basic rules of spelling and grammar, but we can all make mistakes, and sorry to be a spelling pedant, here your initial email to me contained at least two. But not everyone has a newspaper subediting department on hand to clean up their prose.
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The fourth was his grand masterpiece- a song. I hope my silly advice might be helpful So what does that mean? Cynical Optimist 7 years ago from Lawrence, KS You're assuming that people this article is targeted at actually know how to read, or actually like reading. The Directors Cut - Amazon.
While these may not seem like a big deal to some, the problem with lazy writing is that it can become habitual. You're not sure, so you go to the Internet, pull up a lyrics site, and look up to the words to the song.
The place it not to be taken serious though. I copied it to Facebook OK, long time-wimey story short, the Doctor is contacted by a young woman named Oswin who says she crash-landed and has been under Dalek siege for months, making souffles to pass the time.
It's a great site. Have you lived in a box but not a Tardis for the past decade? I love OKC I've gotten some decent success over there. Jual helm nolan online dating Hide this message. Mind your Grammar - Bad grammar is a huge turn off for most people and.
Come to Marlboro Country. It came from the fact that the jingle allegedly contained a grammatical error.
It is not a conjunction and so may not be followed by a clause. The New Yorker sneered at the error, Ogden Nash wrote a poem about it, Walter Cronkite refused to say it on the air, and style guide icons Strunk and White declared it illiterate. The slogan, they all agreed, should have been "Winston tastes good, as a cigarette should. The ad's use of "like" with a clause was not a recent corruption; the combination has been in use for years.
This does not show that purists are only human and sometimes make errors; it shows that the alleged error is not an error. The RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company was confessing to the wrong crime; its slogan was perfectly grammatical. Writers are free to use either "like" or "as", mindful only that "as" is a bit more formal, and that the Winston-tastes-good controversy became such a bloody shirt in the grammar wars that readers may mistakenly think the writer has made an error.
A related superstition, ruthlessly enforced by many copy editors, is that "like" may not be used to introduce examples, as in "Many technical terms have become familiar to laypeople, like 'cloning' and 'DNA'. According to this guideline, "like" may be used only for resemblance to an exemplar, as in "I'll find someone like you" and "Poems are made by fools like me. There is nothing, repeat nothing, wrong with "Who are you looking at? The pseudo-rule was invented by John Dryden based on a silly analogy with Latin where the equivalent to a preposition is attached to the noun and cannot be separated from it in an effort to show that Ben Jonson was an inferior poet.
As the linguist Mark Liberman remarked, "It's a shame that Jonson had been dead for 35 years at the time, since he would otherwise have challenged Dryden to a duel, and saved subsequent generations a lot of grief.
The standard question rule in English converts "You are seeing what? Most obviously, pied-piping sounds better in a formal style. According to this rule, Psalms English with Latin, informal style with incorrect grammar and syntax with semantics.
Accusative predicates have been used for centuries by many respected writers including Samuel PepysErnest Hemingway and Virginia Woolfand the choice between "It is he" and "It is him" is strictly one of formal versus informal style.
The prohibition of split infinitives as in "Are you sure you want to permanently delete all the items and subfolders in the 'Deleted Items' folder? The very terms "split infinitive" and "split verb" are based on a thick-witted analogy to Latin, in which it is impossible to split a verb because it consists of a single word, such as amare, "to love".
Does bad grammar stand in the way of true love?
But in English, the so-called infinitive "to write" consists of two words, not one: Indeed, the spot in front of the main verb is often the most natural resting place for an adverb, and sometimes it is the only resting place. Unsplitting the infinitive in the New Yorker cartoon caption "I'm moving to France to not get fat" yielding "I'm moving to France not to get fat" would garble the meaning, and doing so with "Profits are expected to more than double this year," would result in gibberish: In a sentence in which the author may have taken pains to unsplit an infinitive, such as "The board voted immediately to approve the casino", the reader has to wonder whether it was the vote that was immediate, or the approval.
With the infinitive left unsplit — "The board voted to immediately approve the casino" — it can only be the approval.
This does not mean that infinitives should always be split. Indeed, it's a good habit to at least consider moving an adverb to the end of the verb phrase. If the adverb conveys important information, it belongs there; if it doesn't such as "really", "just", "actually" and other hedgesit might be a verbal fluffball that is best omitted altogether. And since there are benighted sticklers out there who will mistakenly accuse you of making an error when you split an infinitive, you might as well not ask for trouble if it makes no difference to the sentence anyway.
Finally, in many cases a quantifier naturally floats leftward away from the verb, unsplitting the infinitive: These guides for the perplexed also make the lives of copy editors easier, so they may get incorporated into style sheets.
A nonrestrictive relative clause is set off by commas, dashes or parentheses, as in "The pair of shoes, which cost five thousand dollars, was hideous.
One part of the rule is correct: The other part of the rule is utterly incorrect. So what's a writer to do? The real decision is not whether to use "that" or "which" but whether to use a restrictive or a nonrestrictive relative clause. As for the choice you now face between "which" and "that":