The benefits of Eton and Oxford.

  natdoor 16 Jul 12
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Answered

I listened to the BBC news at 1.00 pm today. I quote the Prime Minister: "That is what drives the Deputy P.M. and I".

Hopefully most of you will see the basic grammatic error in that statement. So this is what we get for an education at Eton and a 1st in PPE at Oxford. No wonder that grammar is generally so poor when the privately educated are so useless at it. Some might suggest it was a slip of the tongue but the correct use of the personal pronoun should be so ingrained that its correct use is automatic. And this is no unusual occurrence. It happens daily with people who should know better.

Ok. I know I am pedantic but I will not accept the defeatist mantra that the use of our language is changing and that if enough people use an incorrect construction it becomes the correct form.

  Forum Editor 16 Jul 12

"No wonder that grammar is generally so poor when the privately educated are so useless at it."

Think about what you've written....

Firstly, it's a sweeping generalisation - you make the assumption that 'the privately educated' are all bad at grammar, and that can't possibly be true.

Secondly, you say 'no wonder' that grammar is generally poor when the privately educated are so useless at it. What possible connection can there be between a poor general standard and the fact that some privately educated people have a poor command of grammar? It's a nonsensical assumption to assume that one follows the other.

Thirdly, for goodness sake, does it matter? Worry about something that's really important, not this that isn't.

  natdoor 16 Jul 12

FE

On your first point, observation over many years has given me ample evidence that a private education often does not result in an ability to construcy grammatically.

On the second, one would have hoped that the privately educated would be able to set an example to the rest.

Thirdly, in my view it does matter. It matters to these people, Queen's English Society, too.

  Aitchbee 16 Jul 12

I did not spot the erratum grammatica.

  gardener 16 Jul 12

FE,

Are you seriously suggesting that grammar doesn't matter? Or am I misinterpreting your post?

  morddwyd 16 Jul 12
Answer

"Thirdly, in my view it does matter"

Me too.

We are all quite rightly proud of our tolerance of idiosyncratic spelling and grammar on this forum, with none of the nit-picking pedantry you see elsewhere, but a public speaker in a public place should be able to get it right.

This man's business is words, and the presentation of them, and it shows a lack of professionalism in his job. If he's sloppy here he may be sloppy elsewhere.

I wonder how many teachers have been busy explaining to the students that the PM is wrong and they, the teacher, right?

  Aitchbee 16 Jul 12

...again, I ask, wot was the clanger ?

  natdoor 16 Jul 12

Aitchbee

Would you say "That is what drives I"? The inclusion of the "Deputy P.M." makes no difference to the need to put the personal pronoun in the accusative because it is the object of "drives".

  oresome 16 Jul 12

If he's sloppy here he may be sloppy elsewhere.

I don't think there is any doubt. He is sloppy elsewhere. Think choice of press officer and choice of riding companion for example.

  Aitchbee 16 Jul 12

thanks natdoor. I suppose 'me' would have been better.

  natdoor 17 Jul 12

Aitchbee

Not only better but the only correct choice.

If you wish to engage in further analysis of grammar, perhaps you would like to attempt to see if you can deduce the reasoning behind my assertion in the last paragraph of the final post in this thread modern grammar query.

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