Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Is grammar important?

I was proof reading a press release for a client the other day as they'd written something for publication and wanted me to cast an eye over it.

It all looked good to me except that it contained the words "amount of customers". I told her that the release was perfect except that she needed to change "amount" to "number".

She was baffled. I explained that "number" refers to things that can be counted, such as people, chairs and CUSTOMERS, while "amount" refers to non-countables such as meat or time.

Blank expression.

I explained further. "Well you know how you say "much" or "many"? "Too much meat or too many people - it's the same thing."

Her blank expression turned into a laugh.

"You're so old-fashioned!" she said.

Am I? Is it old-fashioned to want to get your English right? Is the word "fewer" dying out?

Am I alone in wondering that if people can't get their English right that perhaps they don't devote as much attention as they should to their business?

Am I the only person who refuses to go into a nearby pub in our town whose sign reads: "Sarahs lunch's - open Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's" ?

Oh the number (not amount!) of times I've tried to move the apostrophes around on her sign!

I was pleased to see that the BBC has put a grammar quiz on their website and it also contains a question on sitting v sat. It sends hairs up my neck when I hear people say: "I was sat at the back". I want to shout "well who sat you there?"

Have a go at this quiz and if you've read my rant above, you're guaranteed to get at least two right!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22512744

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