Thursday 2 May 2013

Bad grammar awards

I put this up on facebook earlier. Just a quick few thoughts in relation to the 'Bad Grammar Awards' that are getting publicity today. The audio link is at the bottom:

One of the more absurd displays of ignorance masked as bullying appeared on BBC radio 4 Today programme this morning when Tom Hodgkinson talked about 'bad grammar awards' that he and his pals are handing out. 
1. He showed that he thinks a word has grammar when it's out of context and stands alone. So he said 'young' is an adjective. No it's not. It is what it is, when it has a function to play in context, where it might be all sorts of things.
2. He found that he couldn't identify what was wrong with a phrase when he couldn't find his grammatical notes. So how useful is the knowledge that he prizes so much?
3. He finds it hard to express himself, and keeps repeating 'sort of' and 'kind of'. No harm in that for a moment, other than that he's set himself up as a judge. Particularly daft when he says 'a kind of grammatical slip'. Is it a slip or is it not a slip?
4. He seems to think that grammar is a set of rules. It's not. It's the means by which we make sense. So there are many variants which enable us to make sense. When he speaks he finds it difficult to make sense. The examples he gave as 'wrong grammar' were very easy to make sense of.