The English Teacher's Ghost

Exorcising the remains of English teacher grammar

Meet Mr Vince

Meet Mr. Vince, my old English teacher from way, way back. He belonged to a time when teachers taught grammar, and those of us who remember it will recall their … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

Ha! Ha! You’re semi-literate!

It turns out that Nelson from The Simpsons (whose catchphrase this is) was also in Mr. Vince’s class, only in those days he was called Graham.  Graham liked to poke … Continue reading

April 28, 2016 · Leave a comment

Ten items or . . . try the other lane?

We’ve all been there: the supermarket, that is, waiting in line at the check-out.  For years supermarkets across the country labelled their express check-out lanes,           … Continue reading

June 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

Can I go out now? Or may it rain?

Those of us with memories longer than is wise to admit may recall the cocky English teacher who responded to our earnest request, “Please, sir, can I leave the room?” … Continue reading

June 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

There is no such word as ‘got’. Got that?

I am not making this up.  Mr. Vince really did say this.  It was part of his drive to elevate our language and make us talk like proper college boys … Continue reading

June 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

How to deal with your relatives (i)

Of course, the relatives I’m talking about here are relative clauses. OK, don’t panic; let’s take this step by step.  First of all, a clause is a sort of mini-sentence … Continue reading

June 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

How to deal with your relatives (ii)

We have seen that the standard way grammarians distinguish defining from non-defining clauses is to say the former ‘identify’ the subject whereas the latter ‘give extra information’ about it.  By … Continue reading

June 19, 2015 · Leave a comment

How to deal with your relatives (iii)

But we’re not done with relative clauses yet.  Oh, no.  Because there is one particular ghost that must be laid to rest before we can sleep peacefully in our beds.  … Continue reading

June 19, 2015 · Leave a comment