I was listening to BBC Radio 5 Live, as I often do en route to work. During this last week I have head the following:
“There is some clouds…”
“There is some problems…”
My complaint isn’t that they slipped up, we all do that, especially (as in their case) they are live and inventing some of their speech on the fly. My problem is that they didn’t notice the error and attempt to apologise or correct themselves. Are we all too dumb to notice, are we too lazy to care?
Please, let me explain why this bothers me – I’m not a Grammar Nazi – I failed my English GCSE twice (two D’s) before receiving a glorious X – they said that I wasn’t there, then they said “maybe you were, maybe you got a C … you’re a lucky boy”. Golly, thank you, I really feel special now 😦
Why is that relevant? Well, after my first D, my craposity meant that my dear old Dad thought it would be wise for me to receive extra tuition, via the post, from my Uncle (aka the Mad Professor) who was a history lecturer. This meant being taught grammar, too much of which for the first time. Now, probably because of my struggle, I notice the terrible mistakes made by others that I used to make myself: I still repeat, in my head, phrases like “less milk, fewer bottles”.
So what? Well, I have been academically poor at English and I have tried to improve even though it isn’t hugely important for me. For the whole of my professional career I have been a computer programmer, meaning that maths and logic have been more important than grammar and spelling. My bug-bear is this: these broadcasting folk should be experts in language, for it is part of their stock and trade. Why are they employed in such a job? Hhow can they get away with making the same mistakes that I did as a juvenile teen?
Are schools concentrating too much on kids enjoying themselves and not enough on the “3 Rs”?
Is it an over-simplification to suggest that standards have slipped?
I should probably ask someone to proof-read this 😦
(I did ask Betti to proof read-it, therefore remaining mistakes are her fault!)