Letters extra: Estelle's slips

20th July 2001 at 01:00

In the Week in Perspective (July 6) The TES quotes Children's Laureate Anne Fine as saying that grammatical errors reflect a drop in standards.

This appeared very shortly after the distribution of the Teachers magazine (published by the Education Department) in which there is a piece called "Fast Learner" containing a number of grammatical errors attributed to our Secretary of State for Education and Skills.

She is reported as saying: " ... one of the things that's the same about David and I ..." Presumably the young Estelle took notice when her teacher pounded the table and declaimed, "It's David and I, David and I, David and I!" She must have been elsewhere when Miss or Sir added, "But sometimes it's David and me." (It's just as grotesque to say, "the same about David and I ..." as it is to say, "the same about I".)

Ms Morris also seems to have problems with single and plural. Later in the report she is quoted as saying, "And if that talent and skills is in the private sector, my politics is about ..." Another sentence attributed to her by is: "And I can, but there's audiences out there other than teachers." This does not seem to be a mere slip of the tongue because later on she says, "There's so many people out there ..." Did she not have any "there isthere are" lessons at school, or in her teacher training?

It would seem, therefore, that if standards are to rise, a language teacher should be employed in Sanctuary Buildings forthwith. (It will be on a short term contract only though, if the lady is really quick to learn".)

Peter Tallon

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