October 23, 2006

Grammar on the Ropes

From Australia's The Age:

This year in the London Times, Truss pithily summed up her frustration with the decline in grammar teaching: "People can read very widely and well, and they are still not able to spell, or construct a sentence, or work out whether there's an apostrophe in 'its'. It's similar to music. You don't just pick up how to play the piano. I feel kids are being let down. In a communications age, knowing how to write is a life skill."

Formal grammar is not a usual part of most Victorian school English courses. This has been the case since the 1970s when it went out of fashion and creativity at all costs was the preferred approach. The results have been ruinous on standard English acquisition.

I'm still waiting for the first Ed reform that requires teaching more instead of less.


Anonymous said...

I've given up on the apostrophe. I think Falukner had the right idea: just never use one. There are no instances where the presence or absence of the apostrophe disambiguates a sentence, since syntax does that, so let's just drop it from the language altogether so I don't rip my hair out all the time.

Anonymous said...

That was supposed to be Faulkner (as in William).

Anonymous said...

Lynn Truss would have a heart attack if she read rightwingprof's post.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people would. But it's a lost battle. It's time to give it up, and focus on battles that can still be won, like the were-subjunctive (I swear, every time I see, "If he was ..., he woud ..." or any other absues of the subjunctive, I have to take my blood pressure medication). Then there's "less" v. "fewer" (that one really drives me nuts).

Anonymous said...


"Then there's "less" v. "fewer" (that one really drives me nuts)."

You're not alone on that one. It drives my husband crazy, too. I got corrected this weekend.:)