Tuesday, May 24, 2016



School principals are traditionally viewed as the paragon of literacy and scholarship. One would not expect to see grammatical errors in something as important as the school principal's message in a school magazine. A school principal does not write his or her message without first weighing every word he or she uses and checking every sentence to ensure it is elegant, felicitous and grammatically correct. He or she will no doubt cast an eye over the entire message to see that it's properly punctuated before it's published. The Principal's Message sets the tone for the entire magazine. It echoes the ethos of the school and as everyone knows, the school magazine will be read not only by the students of the school but also by parents and members of the public. A shoddily written Principal's Message that has grammatical errors and poor punctuation is a disgrace not only to the principal himself but also to the entire school, former students of the school and anyone else associated with the school.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Prof Bas Aarts is wrong about the subjunctive mood

Prof Bas Aarts is among the world's most influential linguists today. He teaches English Linguistics at UCL and has for ages been the Director of the Survey of English Usage, a post held formerly by Randolph Quirk who's the author of some of the world's most authoritative books on grammar. Whatever Aarts says is of great importance to teachers and students of English. But while I acknowledge Prof Aarts's undoubted cachet in the world of English linguistics, it would be irresponsible of me to be silent on a serious error which he has made in his treatment of the subjunctive mood.