Grammar and language fascists really annoy me, yet recently it’s been a struggle not to join them.
Once you learn a few simple rules like:
- Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.
- Don’t split infinitives.
- That’s not what “begging the question” means.
- Only trains are due, everything else is owing.
- And finally, don’t start a sentence with “and”.
you may have many years of smug fun laughing at the howling errors made on TV and radio (even Radio 4) and thus prove to your friends that you are an erudite and clever individual.
The truth is, the language is changing! Yes, it’s often changing through ignorance, but what does that matter ? That’s how language changes. It’s evolution; mutations that will either stay or die, regardless of their ‘correctness’.
And what is “correct” grammar ? Despite the opinion of most of the middle classes, much of it is as bogus as what the kids talk, innit.
Arses…this wasn’t supposed to turn into another anti grammar rant. The point was going to be that despite hating these arbitrary and innacurate rules, I got most pissed off with “London Tonight” this evening, because there was not one single English sentence in the programme. They had an entire segment about the new “child poverty czar”…another rant in waiting…and neither interviewer nor interviewee managed to say anything for three minutes. It was all the sort of hollow meaningless twaddle the modern business world relishes. The presenter couldn’t even use a cliché properly:
“The proof is always in the pudding”.
No no no! For fucks sake, if you’re going to brandish your lack of imagination on the TV at least do it properly.
And while we’re on the subject, a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to hear some bigwig government/quango nob actually say:
Well, Pandora is now well and truly out of the box and she’s not likely to be going back in…
on the Today programme.
(answer: she’s in the front room watchin’ telly)