Modern standards of grammar do not make you kill yourself

The great Neville Gwynne make it up as you go along road show rumbles on…

Stroppy Editor

Last night I went to Kings Place to see David Marsh and Nevile Gwynne debate grammar. They both spoke with a certain dry wit, even if they both lost focus at times. I’d read a fair bit of their stuff before, so I didn’t find the evening hugely informative, but it was interesting in any case.

Here I’ll just look at one thing Gwynne said.

He is firmly of the view that everything went wrong in the 1960s, when the teaching of grammar was abolished. This had catastrophic consequences for our language. “When I was eight or nine, everyone knew what a preposition was.” But no longer.

A regular part of his pitch is that good grammar (by his definition) is necessary for thinking, and thinking is necessary for deciding, and deciding is necessary for happiness and society and civilisation itself, all of which are now breaking down because we…

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