In defence of good old grammar

Alan Philps applauds youthful exuberance but will stick with his more formal language

The World Today
2 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

To be human is to play with words, to make jokes with them and to invent new ones. New words to deal with changing times tend to arise – to the anguish of the gatekeepers of proper usage – from outgroups, such as young people and those on the margins of polite society.

So I am indebted to Marie Le Conte for explaining the intricacies of online writing. She has convinced me that this is a new language tool for a new medium – and one I can never learn. My reasons are personal as well as professional.

I recall rolling my eyes when my mother started using the word ‘hassle’ for a minor inconvenience like queuing at the Post Office, as opposed to what I understood it to mean − police harassment of young men on the street. If I ever use ~ for a raised eyebrow I know I will be ridiculous in the eyes of youth.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.