Grammar police

(122 Posts)
chattychattyboomba Thu 16-May-13 00:05:05

there is no such word as 'Et' as in 'I et spaghetti for dinner, I et the lot!'
If you want to say 'eat' as in past tense, the word, my friends is 'ate' ATE! Do you hear me!!!!???angry

Also 'i were sat there' NO! Wrong!
I was sitting there... OR I sat there.
Got it? Good.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 00:08:45

Unless of course someone actually did sit you there - then you were sat there smile

I hate those two you mention too! My dad always used to respond to someone saying "I was sat..." With "really, who sat you there?"

LeaveTheBastid Thu 16-May-13 00:10:00


No idea why but I read that with a Yorkshire accent..

It sounds fine to me. Yorkshire here too grin

Grammar police absolutely hate me as I have no grasp on grammar or spelling. Strangely no one picks me up on it. Its totally ignores like they expect it and no it wont change.

I also repel apostrophes it seems

beansmum Thu 16-May-13 00:12:53

The et thing is perhaps more of a pronunciation than a grammar issue - but yes, annoying. Would someone who says 'et' also write 'et'?

I say 'et' but wont spell it as 'et' i spell it as ate

elQuintoConyo Thu 16-May-13 00:19:44

Was sat = passive, so someone sat you there, you didn't choose your seat/decide to sit down.

I hate: 'what I done was...' eh? Really?

<clutches grammar pearls and makes apostrophe-shaped catsbum mouth>

chattychattyboomba Thu 16-May-13 00:37:41

Yes elquinto. I concur x1000000 on the 'what i done' stance. We'll change the world. 1 MN thread at a time. blush

drfayray Thu 16-May-13 04:44:36

I have been doing online dating. The thing that attracted me to the man I am now seeing? That he could distinguish between "your" and "you're".

I literally got hundreds of messages. His stood out.

Romance via Grammar police... grin

thylarctosplummetus Thu 16-May-13 05:24:11

I met DH through the internet twelve years ago (before it was cool) and almost decided not to meet him because he used ` instead of ' for his apostrophes.

My job these days is writing and reviewing technical and non-technical reports where being a member of the grammar police is highly valued.

Having said that, it's amazing how quickly form and grammar disappear as soon as I write an informal email or post on a forum.

I'm still religious about commas and apostrophes in text messages though. There's no excuse for sloppiness!

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Thu 16-May-13 05:38:47

Something I've noticed recently - and I wonder if it's an accent/dialect thing - is people writing 'his' instead of 'he's'. As in, 'his an idiot.

What's that about?

Habbibu Thu 16-May-13 05:56:03

Both "et" and "his" are pronunciation rather than grammar distinctions. Both fairly typical in the North of England, and quite possibly have as long a history as the pronunciations you favour. "I was sat" is an active form in a number of Northern dialects, where sat serves as present continuous. If said in a very formal context where for some reason you might expect Standard English to be spoken/written then that's one thing, but in informal contexts it's fine. Or do you think dialects should be restricted to vocabulary and adhere to Standard English grammar?

DH is Scottish, and thinks "aren't I?" sounds odd. He uses the more logical "amn't ?" which does make sense.

Beamae Thu 16-May-13 06:02:58

That's Yorkshire. I was wondering if it was youth speak. My SIL speaks like that, but not my husband, his parents or friends. She says 'were' instead of 'was' and then pronounces it differently if she actually does mean 'were', so it comes out more like 'war'.

I just shake my head in disbelief. I am firmly of the opinion that roughly 75% of the language they use up there is made up on the spot!

Alligatorpie Thu 16-May-13 06:05:24

I hate et. Drives me nuts.

My dd goes to an international school where she is in the 5% of non native speakers. She comes home saying "salma did say..." or "malika did go...." Last night we were playing a game and she said "you winned me!" (You won - not she was the prize) i want to shake her and shout "you speak English as a first language - stop this insanity!" However, I patiently shadow correct her and appreciate she is blending in with peers. <polishes halo>

Habbibu Thu 16-May-13 06:22:10

Beamae, why disbelief? Do you think there should be no dialects? Don't go to Aberdeen if you can't cope with Yorkshire.

Beamae Thu 16-May-13 06:38:34

Haha. I have lived in Scotland. Although I often didn't know what was going on I didn't find it half as baffling as Yorkshire. There are a million and one misunderstandings in my family because of how the in laws speak. Keeps us all on our toes. I'm South African so it goes both ways!

May I vent?

I hate "I seen." I'm in Liverpool and mainly hear it from people my age (35) and younger.

I aso get annoyed by a lot of mispronunciations but the ones that irritate me most are "yisdudee" for "yesterday" and "tt" pronounced "ss" so you don't know if someone's called Betty or Bessie.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 06:46:00

Just to invoke the law of Sod when an OP berates someone's grammar/pronunciation.....wink

//et// is perfectly correct. As is //eit//

chattychattyboomba Thu 16-May-13 07:33:10 go back and read it properly.

Dawndonna Thu 16-May-13 07:34:20

I can't bare it. Well, good, I don't want to see it. However, sympathies extended if you can't bear it.

usualsuspect Thu 16-May-13 07:36:27

Are we not allowed to have accents on MN?

Must we all speak RP, or be banished

MamaMumra Thu 16-May-13 07:41:14

What pisses me off the most is when people are too lazy to use commas. Yes, I'm talking to you OP. It's 1,000,000.

I suppose people must always have somebody to look down their nose at...

usualsuspect Thu 16-May-13 07:41:58

I will be the thread police if you are the grammar police.

There is a pendants' corner for this type of thread.

Got it? Good

MamaMumra Thu 16-May-13 07:44:44

Hi usual.
My good deed for the is to inform the PPs that criticising grammar and accents makes one sound like a twat.

<polishes my halo>

chattychattyboomba Thu 16-May-13 07:45:12

We're doing just fine here thanks all the same.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 07:58:24

Are you saying the phonetic transcription offered by English dictionaries the world over (ie that both pronunciations of "ate" = //eit// and //et// are perfectly correct is wrong OP?

You might need to start writing to about a billion publishing houses then.

(that is, if your post underneath mine was directed at me, which I presume it was)

Dontcha just hate it when fact gets in the way of a good bashing thread?

chattychattyboomba Thu 16-May-13 08:00:29

I would LOVE you to be correct. But you're not...
Put your smug smirk away, and read it again.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 08:03:20

Read what again?

The OP, or the link?

I've read both, (not that I needed to, what with my master's in linguistics, but hey ho)

the pronunciation 'et' is perfectly correct. you would write it 'ate'

BreconBeBuggered Thu 16-May-13 08:21:37

I can't see anything wrong with 'et'. Or dialects where non-standard grammar is used consistently, though I don't think 'et' is a dialect pronunciation.
There's a higher quality of pickiness in pedants' corner. I think the thread is fine where it is.

I say 'were' as 'war'

I also dont say 'the' shock Oh dear god, your head would explode if you heard me speak. I type how I speak as well.

I will also say 'i were sat there'

Boom! head exploded


Hopasholic Thu 16-May-13 09:47:06

Wen I gorrup, I went t' kitchen to find there were nowt int tin.

Nowt wrong wi Yorkshire!

Puts flat cap on and takes ferrit out for a walk

<joins hope and goes t' pub>


Why is it the people keenest to pick fault are always the most ignorant about what grammar actually is?

Or what habbibu explained, more patiently.

I love a nice Yorkshire accent.

miffybun73 Thu 16-May-13 09:54:27

Yes, I hate both "et" for "ate" and I was sat.

Also, when people miss out "to" as in, heard in playground:

"Let's go Sienna's house after school" or "x needs to go toilet", "go shops" etc.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Thu 16-May-13 09:58:22

Eek, apologies for my part - I'm Antipodean and had never come across the his/he's thing before. blush

<slinks away, wrist thoroughly slapped>

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 10:00:19

I don't mind 'ate' pronounced 'et' any more than I mind envelope pronounced 'onvelope'. What always makes my toes curl is when my Sheffield friend uses 'tret'.... as the past tense of 'treat'. <wince>


You were fine, don, I think? There's loads of quirks, we can't all know them all.

that's a norfolk thing too cogito ('tret'). and 'shew' as the past tense of 'show'

i love it

Dawndonna Thu 16-May-13 10:34:29

Nawfolk! I driv round city today. I shew my mate my noo top.
I writ a letter to the doctor.

Aarghhhhh! I've been living here for sixteen years and I'm still not used to it!

kim147 Thu 16-May-13 10:36:34

I "et" my tea - works for me.

But I've been living in Yorkshire for 20 years so it's probably influenced me.

CheesyPoofs Thu 16-May-13 10:48:22

My mother, who has a linguistics degree and is a former English teacher, says it's fine to use bad grammar in informal speech, especially if it's linked to a regional accent AS LONG AS YOU know not to use it formally or in writing.

I'm from up north and I might say "I've et my spagettti". But I would never write it like that and I'd never say it in a meeting at work for example.

'Bad' grammar is only 'bad' if you subscribe to the theory of prescriptive grammar. Which, as a country, we do less than the French.

Non-standard grammar is fine in formal speech so long as you're not speaking to people who judge on daft things.

I was at a conference last week where plenty of US southerners were using non-standard plural forms and no-one was demanding they renounce their professorships of English Lit.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 11:09:32

My Afrikaner friend's English is excellent but there's one nuance (?), dialect (?) I still find funny and that's when she asks ..'are you coming with?' No personal pronouns. Not 'with us' or 'with me' etc just a heavy emphasis on the with

Huh. Now I would say that, and I grew up in the East Mids. I've no idea if it's a dialect thing, though.

What I do notice a lot is Americans saying 'I want for' or 'I'd like for you to tell me'. It's rather nice, but odd. Apparently they find that 'I'd like you to tell me' sounds rather blunt.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Thu 16-May-13 11:12:40

Come on, OP. You know you have to be quite lighthearted to post this sort of guff. If you get arsey when proven (that's pr- oh- ven) wrong, you just look like a tit.

dyslexicdespot Thu 16-May-13 11:14:22


Does your mother think that books written in regional dialects should be banned?

It would be a shame to dismiss the authors like Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston or Charles Dickens.

colloquial expressions

IrritatingInfinity Thu 16-May-13 11:16:09

I get eat and ate wrong ALL the time. sad I blame my parents smile

MadBusLady Thu 16-May-13 11:17:20

I say "et" and I'm from SE, it can't just be a Yorkshire thing.

MadBusLady Thu 16-May-13 11:18:14

Or Chaucer.

DollyClothespeg Thu 16-May-13 11:20:43

"I et the lot!" is perfectly correct when SAYING it round here (Yorkshire!) and is exactly how I would say it.
"I et it all!" grin
Writing it though? No. Just no. That would annoy me as I get irrationally wound up at things like that!

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 11:21:04

//ET// is NOT WRONG. <gets shouty>

The Queen, I bet a zillion dollars, says //et//. It's the more old-fashioned (ie traditional) pronunciation of "ate".

Like she says 'otel.

I love the "are you coming with?" (though I am East Midlands and don't use it)

My linguistics teacher once amazed us (group of 100 or so in a big lecture) by asking us to finish this sentence "I ought to do it, <insert word> I?" He said he could tell within a 30 mile radius where we were from depending on the word we inserted.

Two of us inserted the same word, just the 2 of us, and discovered I was Nottingham, and she was Chesterfield.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Thu 16-May-13 11:22:20

The thing thTs really annoying me at the mome t is "st" pronounced "sht"

Shtupid shudents

Really irritates me are people scared of the s sound?

I have a new pbone can not type or punctuate and do nkt belong here I know

May I be a massive pedant? Please, please?

Ok then.

We don't really know what dialect Chaucer spoke. We know some of his scribes spoke Type II standard English, but we don't have a holograph. Retrospectively, some of his books ended up shaping what standard English is today.

He could've said 'et' though.

nottreading that is immensely cool (that he knew exactly where you were from). I love that sort of thing.

MadBusLady Thu 16-May-13 11:24:32

It's the more old-fashioned (ie traditional) pronunciation of "ate".

Ah, that makes sense, that must be why I do it, I am quaite queeny. In that link somebody gave to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, the sound file for //et// is definitely in an RP accent.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Thu 16-May-13 11:24:37

My students comme t was a illustration not an opinikn btw

TheThickPlottens Thu 16-May-13 11:26:24

[Grin] for UsualSuspect being the Thread police. That had crossed my mind too.

I would have thought people saying "et" still wrote it as "ate". I wouldn't have thought that regional dialects or accents were wrong. Like people from Liverpool pronouncing their 'ing' differently.

<previews message with a microscope and nervously presses Post>

Are we talking 'et' with a nice crisp 't' sound or 'et' with a glottal stop, as my brother does it when he is trying to pretend he is down with the kids?

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 11:28:50

It's the same sort of thing when people criticise US English grammar and spelling. Most differences come about because US English still uses the original English that the first settlers took over with them, whereas English English has changed, US English hasn't.

So we could say that US English is more correct in a way, except we don't, because that would be a knobby thing to say.

If language didn't evolve we'd all be walking round thee-ing and thou-ing. (and my Grandad, north Derbyshire, still did!)

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 11:30:45

LRD- me too, fascinates me.

The word we inserted by the way was "didn't".

I ought to do it, didn't I?

Completely left field usage. Everyone else in the room said wtf? grin

MadBusLady Thu 16-May-13 11:31:38

Why is it some people are sort of behind the curve of linguistic change then, do we know? There's no real reason why I should pronounce "ate" the same way as the Queen, my parents aren't particularly old or posh. But I'm obviously a throwback grin


My dad says 'I didn't ought to'. It drives my mum round the bend. It's one of the very few things he says that must've survived his childhood and rigorous correction by teachers who tried to get him to speak RP.

mad - I always wonder. I suppose some people find it hard to lose an accent, so preserve what they spoke in childhood? There was some really interesting research that'd been carried out recording the same people over the years, and it found that accents really do modify quite a lot, though they typically retain the same connotations, so we don't notice that they've changed. I mean, you can see that listening to radio announcers in the 1930s who are speaking RP, but a very different kind of RP from what we would identify as that now.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 11:37:02

I say "didn't ought to" as well! (apart from when I'm teaching grin)

Must be another East Midlands thing.

I read an article about the royals, and how even their accents have been watered down to be less posh over the years. Apparently, the Queen speaks just like me and my Grandad when compared to her parents, and the whippersnappers are virtually the underclass.


The underclass, you say?

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 11:45:19

Don't upper class poshos say et rather than ate? I seem to remember reading it in Snobs...

Dawndonna Thu 16-May-13 12:23:20

I say et. Spell it ate. I et my lunch, yesterday. I ate my lunch yesterday.

boxershorts Thu 16-May-13 12:32:08

you cannot lay GRAMMAR down on tablets of stone. Some great writer write differently and punctuate different. Michael Gove is being silly

boxershorts Thu 16-May-13 12:34:17

A comedia called ALEXANDER says he is being prejudiced for being posh. (come off it mate) You are all over TV (prejudiced?)

I was the one who taught the Queen to speak. She now says 'shes off t' see t' corgi's' and I'm off t' loo Charlie' and also 'Kate looks bang tidy mate'

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 12:52:41

"Upper class poshos" definitely say the following...

Creche.... a collision between two cars
Rind..... circular in shape
Shah.... light rain

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 12:56:34


Tine....a large settlement consisting of houses, businesses and eateries.
Hellair...a greeting

PeppermintPasty Thu 16-May-13 13:00:56

I'm confused. I read the OP and thought people were spelling "ate" as "et" <thick face>.

I am a pedant, although clearly not a very attentive one, and I agree that saying "ate" as "et" is perfectly correct.

CheesyPoofs Thu 16-May-13 13:03:02

dyslexicdespot you spectacularly missed my point.

Peevish Thu 16-May-13 13:11:03

Jane Austen pronounced 'joined' to rhyme with 'pined', judging by how she used it in a poem written for her family. Irrelevant but interesting.

I do worry when my students increasingly spell from their own (mis)pronunciation of words, though. I notice a growing inability to distinguish between 'been' and 'being'. So they write 'Jane Eyre was been badly treated by her aunt' because that's how they say it.

LittleMissGerardButlerfan Thu 16-May-13 13:23:01

'Ey up, just because I'm from Yorkshire, and pronounce things a bit differently, I still spell them correctly most of the time thanks to autocorrect

I love regional accents and variations, I could listen to the Scottish accent for hours grin

What does annoy me though is when my son copies his friends in school who say me instead of I, so for example me want an ice cream angry his teacher said they correct him, and we do too, and he knows the correct way, it just really grates on me!

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 13:27:58

Upper class poshos say Hie Nie Brine Kie as well.

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 13:31:46

"Sly".....a town the other side of the M4 from Windsor

<possibly plagiarises a Two Ronnies sketch>

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 13:35:19

Or is "to Windsor".

dyslexicdespot Thu 16-May-13 14:15:52


A poorly made point is often spectacularly misunderstood! ;-)

CheesyPoofs Thu 16-May-13 14:21:56

Well you could say a well made point can be easily misunderstood if the person reading it is a bit stooopid <tongue in cheek>

HintofBream Thu 16-May-13 14:23:59

From, Hester, from.
LittleMGB, I thought you were being annoyed by "I" instead of "Me" until I read your post more carefully. My annoyance is caused by "He gave it to my DD and I", for example, or, as a poster asked recently, "Please settle an argument between DH and I" , or as Dr Dawn said on 'Embarrassing Bodies', "You are through to Christian and I in the studio". No one would say "he gave it to I" or " You are through to I". It always seems like a misguided attempt to be posh. Propositions take the accusative case.

dyslexicdespot Thu 16-May-13 14:24:13

I said a poorly made point.....

CheesyPoofs Thu 16-May-13 14:29:38


Oh dear


LittleMissGerardButlerfan Thu 16-May-13 14:29:46

Hint I get annoyed by that use of 'I' and use me in those examples, but my son does it like me want an ice cream, me played in the sand etc!

I don't even attempt to sound posh! I'm from Yorkshire, I don't do posh grin

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 14:30:49

Isn't Harrogate in Yorkshire? That's very posh!

LittleMissGerardButlerfan Thu 16-May-13 14:33:09

Ooh yes Harrogate is vair posh, they have a waitrose! I probably should remember that being as my parents live there blush

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 14:35:30

Waitrose-possessing is the ultimate gauge of poshness in a town <nods sagely>

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 14:35:55

though Barry has one.

grin I love that image of the queen SP.

peevish - does it matter that much, though? It's natural that languages lose (and gain) constructions, isn't it? I mean, obviously in the short term it is a problem for them as other people may wonder what the heck they're on about, but long term, well, that may just be how the language goes.

I always love that 'butterfly' comes from 'flutter-by', but the reversed version is easier to stay (please no-one tell me this is an urban myth).

LRD Glad someone noticed grin Can imagine her sat in throne chair thing shouting 'Charlie, do you want a cuppa love?' 'We off t' Iceland Kate, need prawn rings for tea'


I can absolutely imagine it. It's the frosty glare and the hairstyle, to me it looks very Yorkshire. Not to mention when she's got one of those scarf-type thingies over her head. She just needs to stoop a bit more and have a pack of fags peeking out of her cardie and I'd swear I'd seen her all over York.

'You got a light Will, I need t' roll mi baccy'


Well, if nothing else, it'd all make sense of Harry.

Our Hazza has a Birmingham accent I think.

If you say so. I've got to say, just looking at Kate I somehow expect her to be broad Essex, but she's not.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 16:38:19

bet Carole is though

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 16:39:12

Actually, isn't Carole posher than the Queen and more directly in line to the throne than the whole lot of 'em or something? Or is that another urban myth?

and is the OP still googling madly to prove me wrong

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 16:39:43

That was unkind of me. Sorry. But she did call me smug.

Which I am, a bit.

DebsMorgan Thu 16-May-13 16:51:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HintofBream Thu 16-May-13 17:14:49

Just realised in my previous post I said "propositions" instead of "prepositions". No pedant seems to have noticed, and I don't know whether to be relieved or cast down as it was clearly too boring for anyone to read. Except you, kind LittleMGB, and I did realise which way round your son does it once I had read your post properly. Certainly I was not suggesting you were trying to be posh, though I am sure you are, in a very nice way.

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 16-May-13 17:20:11

Hullo all,

The OP has asked us to move this to pedant's we'll be doing that shortly!

<manically checks grammar>

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 17:25:14

And there I was thinking it was a friendly chat between normal people sad

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 17:29:09

OK! Lovely!

That way it won't go whoooosh after 90 days. We get to keep it forever! grin <and snort slightly>

MadBusLady Thu 16-May-13 18:33:54

Hester I was once on a thread about the difference between "cue" and "queue" that got moved to Pedants Corner shock. Pedantry used to be arguing into the night about the split infinitive, now it's apparently pedantic to object to glaring mistakes.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 18:54:05

I know this thread has moved on but I have a northern accent (Lancashire) and occasionally say things such as "et" and even "get it etten" when I am being deliberately "Lancashire" but I don't use those words in regular speech and I do know the difference.

Accent is not an excuse for poor use of language and poor grammar. Different occasions call for different levels of pedantry.

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 18:56:49

Oh yes. THAT thread. The one in which we normal people pedants pointed out that "que" isn't actually a word, unless you counted a small French word as in "est-ce que....", possibly meaning "that" though I can't be sure.

MadBusLady Thu 16-May-13 19:00:19

"Et" isn't poor use of language though Crikey, it's a legitimate pronunciation. See the sound files in the dictionary entries people linked to above.

Ha, "que" yes, I'd forgotten that. confused

Someone has probably said this already, but 'et' is a perfectly legitimate way of pronouncing 'ate'. In fact it is listed before the 'ate' way in my dictionary.
One which really annoys me is when people say 'The reason being is that....' instead of 'The reason being that...'.

I seen this thread and had to post.

I don't think anyone is suggesting accent is an 'excuse', though.

People are saying that grammar and pronunciation don't always need to conform to RP standards. In some countries (eg. France, though even there, I understand there is a movement away from this), there is a strong idea that certain grammatical forms or accents are 'right' and others are 'wrong'. This hasn't always been the case in the UK and increasingly it is recognised that multiple forms might be acceptable.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 19:11:43

Well my spoken English certainly doesn't conform to RP - I have a lovely accent and I'm proud of it - I say bATh and pAth with a hard "a" but it is still the correct word.

I wasn't aware that "et" wasn't incorrect (ooh - scary double negative), so I stand corrected.

I also say "ate" with an accent (sounds more like "ayt" when I say it).

I wasn't trying to correct you. I love accents, all kinds.

I just meant to explain that lots of people wouldn't talk about English grammar or pronunciation in terms of 'correctness' or 'incorrectness'. Lots of people would acknowledge that one is seen as more formal, but that doesn't make the dialect version 'incorrect'. I think the basic idea is to do with saying that dialect versions get a raw deal and so do people in those areas, often, so it is important not to make out that someone is somehow more 'correct' for having been born in an area where RP is spoken. It's similar to the way that, back in the day, you'd never hear a Scottish accent in a radio presenter, but now you do.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 19:26:47

Sorry if I came across a bit snippy - didn't mean to.

I am actually quite surprised that "et" is acceptable pronunciation (not in a bad way, just surprised).

I do think accents get a hard time. It's not that long ago that people's educational level was assumed based on accent. Thankfully, we seem to be moving away from that.

I remain pedantic about using correct words though. Sit vs sat, less vs fewer etc. having said that, this isn't an accent thing - its simply wrong. Does big me though when people play the "accent" card to excuse this type of incorrectness (which I know isn't a word smile )

Not at all; I was worried I'd been rude.

I'm just saying that there is an argument that any dialect pronunciation is acceptable - there doesn't have to be a hierarchy. And I'm with you in thinking it's good that we're moving away from the hierarchical idea. I had a wonderful teacher who spoke broad and proud 'poor white' Texan, which he explained means the kind of accent associated with the really badly-educated people.

I don't agree that fewer vs less is 'simply wrong' - I think it's complicatedly wrong wink - but I agree that it is far, far more important to understand why people use 'fewer', than it is to understand why someone pronounces a word in a particular way. IMO understanding about grammar is useful, even if you choose to break the rules and even if you're so used to a dialect from that you prefer that. RP accents are less important to understand than standard grammar.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 19:42:59

Yep - seems we do agree.

My lovely dad taught me the difference between less and fewer and it makes it really really simple. You can have less mashed potato and fewer chips smile. If you can pick an item up and remove it from the group, then fewer is correct. If, by removing an amount the pile gets smaller - it is less smile

Great at grammar "mi" dad smile


Awww. Bless your dad.

See, my mum's approach was different ... I have her voice shrieking in my ear '^fewer^! Not less!' Also she would shriek 'to whooooom' in a ringing voice in the playground while I waited for the earth to swallow me up. blush

It worked, though.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 19:53:46

LRD, is your Mum Margot Leadbetter?

Mine wrote letters to the school complaining about the quality of our English lessons. I quietly died at the time, but realise now that my god, she was right.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 19:54:26

Where did my grin disappear to after Margot Leadbetter? Are they not allowed in pedant's corner? confused

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 19:54:37

Oh, they appeared there.

Erm, I had to look up that reference, so obviously not! grin

She (and my grandpa) did teach me precisely enough pedantry to annoy my teachers, though.

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