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Thursday 9 May 2013

Overly prescriptive prescriptivists who are dead inside

When the only answer you've got to someone who argues with you is to point out the flaws in their grammar, then you've lost the argument. This piece in the Guardian looks at the winner of the inaugural 'Bad Grammar' award; a letter written to Michael Gove disagreeing with his plans for curriculum reform.
Check out what sentence parsing superhero Nevile Gwynne had to say on the phrase 'too much too young':

"Presumably they mean something like 'demands too much when children are too young to be ready for so much', but, as worded, it simply is not English," he said. "In that sentence as worded, 'too young' can only be two adverbs, 'too' qualifying the adverb 'young', and 'young' qualifying the verb 'demands', as would, for instance, 'soon' or 'early'. But 'young' is an adjective, and cannot ever be an adverb. And it certainly is not doing the work of an adjective in that sentence, because there is no noun that could be 'understood' and which would turn that sentence into English."

Not English? Please. This is nothing more than petulant error spotting, and tells us more about the people doing the spotting than the quality of the original argument. 

1 comment:

  1. Very true! Also, if Nevile Gwynne had half the creativity in him that The Specials had when they wrote their song "Too Much Too Young" he'd be a hell of a lot more interesting than he is now.

    As for the vile Toby Young and his comments on Michael Rosen's "illiteracy", urggggghhhh.