Two Cheers for Alan Duncan, Grammar Fascist
the Minister of State for International Development, has
become perhaps the first Conservative minister in history to describe
himself as a fascist, rather than waiting for someone on Twitter
to do it for him.
"Lofty", as he is known, has awarded himself the title
of Grammar Fascist, in a memo to staff at the Department for International
Development in which he warned that using language that the
rest of the world doesnt understand damages Britain's
reputation. He wants to ban jargon like "going forward"
("loose and meaningless", he rightly calls it); furthermore,
"we do not ever access, catalyse, showcase
or impact anything", and he "would prefer
that we did not leverage or mainstream anything,
and whereas he is happy for economies to grow, he does not like
it when we grow economies."
It irks when nouns are used as verbs, apostrophes are left
off (or misplaced), compound adjectives (such as UN-led) are not
hyphenated, and sentences are begun with But or However.
Chris Hope's story on the subject for the full text.
it's a fine and noble thing that Mr Duncan is trying to do: on the
Today Programme this morning, John Humphrys called for him to be
given a peerage. But, unusually for a fascist, Mr Duncan has allowed
his terrorised subjects the right of reply. The memo ends: Disclaimer:
[Lofty] is always willing to be challenged about his judgement on
grammatical standards and will not take offence at a properly reasoned
opinion. I hope that my honourable friend will not mind me
challenging him in that spirit.
impact, sad though it is to admit, are now perfectly acceptable
verbs. "Nouns being used as verbs" in general is such
a common practice that there's even a term for it, "verbing"
(it is, pleasingly, also the finest example of its own definition).
But the point I really want to address is this: starting sentences
with conjunctions such as "but" or "however"
is completely fine, and has been used for literally centuries. There
are a solid 1,558 examples of sentences beginning with "But"
in the King James Bible alone, and a further 12,846 starting with
God want you to use more initial conjunctions?", asks Language
the rest of the article
© 2012 Daily Telegraph