The real reason people say ‘I text him’ instead of ‘I texted’ him

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Martin Allen has written with a very interesting question. It follows on from his initial query, which is why people…

It’s thought that counts when it comes to good prose

3 November 2018 9:00 am

This is a sentence. As is this — not an exceptionally beautiful one, but a sentence all the same, just…

Hell is a telephone helpline and three halves of a bed

29 September 2018 9:00 am

‘I’m just going to pop yourself on hold,’ said the girl from the online shopping firm who was trying to…

Similar to (as opposed to like, as with, such as)

26 May 2018 9:00 am

I’m often annoyed by like being misused in different ways. (In place of as, for example: ‘Like I expected, he was…

Why I won’t see the Darkest Hour

20 January 2018 9:00 am

The BBC programme The Coronation, on Sunday evening, was extremely interesting, principally, of course, because of the Queen’s appearance on…

The phrase that is almost universally misused

6 January 2018 9:00 am

Writing about Meghan Markle and the Duchess of Cambridge in the Sunday Times, India Knight wrote: ‘I can’t help but…

Once ‘compliance’ was a vice — now it’s all about ticking boxes

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Ralph Bathurst was accused shortly after his death in 1704 of being ‘suspected of Hypocrisy and of mean Complyance’. I…

Mind your language: King Charles’s head

15 April 2017 8:00 am

‘It has become something of a King Charles’ head, or should that be a King Charles’s head?’ said my husband,…

The device that killed grammar

1 April 2017 9:00 am

Of all the many indignities I have suffered at the hands of my iPhone, the humiliation that sickens me the…

Why can’t St Thomas’s Hospital spell its own name?

1 April 2017 9:00 am

Everyone praised the staff of St Thomas’s Hospital during the terrorist attack. My husband of course brought his own fly to…

Why I’m a convert to singular ‘they’

3 December 2016 9:00 am

‘When I asked the bank,’ said my husband, ‘they were no help at all.’ My attention was distracted from his…

Include me out of this grammatical atrocity

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Just as, in writing, many people use an exclamation mark to indicate that they have made a joke, so there…

Word play: children enjoy learning the quirks of a language

Children love to learn grammar and thanks to Michael Gove they will get the chance

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Ed Clarke welcomes a renewed emphasis on the nuts and bolts of language after a long period of neglect

Mind your language . . . on commit

5 December 2015 9:00 am

My husband struck out with his stick at an advertisement in the street that said: ‘Commit to winter.’ He doesn’t…

Letters: The Church of England should apologise for abuse accusations

14 November 2015 9:00 am

The C of E should apologise Sir: Peter Hitchens’s article on the allegations against the late Bishop Bell is a…

Letters: Nicholas Serota answers Toby Young on arts teaching

7 November 2015 9:00 am

The power of creativity Sir: A rounded education should encourage creativity as well as maths, English, science and history if…

N.M. Gwynne’s diary: Old names worth dropping

17 October 2015 9:00 am

As I get older (and my 74th birthday is now close), I get deeper and deeper into nostalgia. I do…

Why would Jeremy Corbyn want to be credible when he can be incredible?

12 September 2015 9:00 am

In a wonderfully dry manual of theology on my husband’s bookshelves, written in Latin and printed in Naples in the…

In defence of Michael Gove’s grammar guide

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Few things are more likely to provoke the disapproval of the bien-pensant left than criticising someone’s grammar. The very idea…

The new Fowler still won’t grasp the nettle on ‘they’

4 April 2015 8:00 am

I’ve been having a lovely time splashing about in the new Fowler. It has been revised by Jeremy Butterfield, an…

How ‘data’ became like ‘butter’

3 January 2015 9:00 am

Someone on Radio 4 said she had heard about the sexism of Grand Theft Auto on ‘Women’s Hour’. It is…

How the Romans taught Latin (N.M. Gwynne would not approve)

13 December 2014 9:00 am

Barely a week passes without someone complaining about the teaching of English or foreign languages, usually because it involves too…

A learned poet's mystifying mistakes

15 February 2014 9:00 am

I enjoy Poetry Please, but was shouting mildly at the wireless the other day when a northern woman poet was…

Sorry, A.A. Gill, but good English really does matter

11 May 2013 9:00 am

Last week saw the launch of the Bad Grammar Awards, an annual contest in which prizes are handed out for…

Not going forward

23 October 2010 12:00 am

This is a brave book, quixotic even.