Doge: such grammar. Very rules. Most linguistics. Wow

You know an internet meme has pretty much breathed its last when the Today programme brings in someone to talk about it and explain why it’s funny, while the presenter patronises them and pronounces the word “online” as though they’re picking it up with tweezers. Today, that happened to Doge. (In fairness Evan Davis, for…

Why it’s ‘Ukip’, not ‘UKIP’, and why I find that amusing

It’s one of the weirdest ongoing arguments that rages in the comments underneath Telegraph Blogs – more heated, at times, than whether or not Muslims are behind the global warming scam, or if the moderators are in the secret pay of Brussels. The argument is: is it Ukip, or UKIP? Underneath Ambrose’s piece published a…

This is your fault, 10-items-or-fewer Nazis

From the YouTube comment box. Show more, or show fewer. This is what happens when you tell people that Learning To Speak And Write More Proper is all about memorising and dumbly applying a few rules. Never Split Infinitives. Always Use Fewer With Countable Plural Nouns. Don’t End Sentences On A Preposition. And now look…

Stop saying ‘the global race’

Stop it. Stop saying “the global race”. It sounds like a round-the-world yachting competition. It is stupid, implying a zero-sum situation in which if China gets better we have to get worse. And it’s boring. You’ve used it a million times. Stop saying “hard-working people”, or, God forbid, “hard-working families”. It is cruel and exclusionary…

‘I’m sorry, Mr Shakespeare, you’ve failed your Key Stage 2 grammar test’

Awful, embarrassing news about our education system from the grammar blogger David Crystal. (Spotter’s badge to the estimable John E McIntyre of The Baltimore Sun.) Asked to include an “appropriate” adverb in the phrase “The sun shone ________ in the sky”, children were marked down for using “bright” and “dutifully”. Crystal points out, rightly and…