This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Every Little Helps.

They're out to get you.

Yes, there is now a Bad Grammar Award. It seems to have been started by Tom Hodgkinson.

Here's a passage from Toby Young's article about it in The Spectator of 11th May 2013.

"Another contender for the main prize was the text of a recent Tesco ad: ‘Enjoy the taste of England. Working with local producers to bring you a wider range of seasonal locally sourced products. Every little helps.’

The judges felt that ‘Enjoy the taste of England’ was just about acceptable, but thought the second sentence should have a comma after ‘seasonal’ and ‘locally sourced’ should be hyphenated to make it clear that ‘sourced’ is what is being qualified by the adverb ‘locally’. ‘Every little helps’, while a common phrase, is incorrect because ‘little’ is not a noun."

Okay then. Well, let's start from the beginning. 

Grammar is an attempt to analyse one aspect of the joyous thing we call language.

Very often (but not always), the purpose of language is to communicate an idea or fact.

If efficiently-communicating language fails to fit the rules of grammar, then who's to say it's the fault of the language, and not of the grammatical rules?

Well, the answer to that question is the people who think the grammatical rules are both right and sacrosanct. Unfortunately they are likely to be the people who run the world, or think they run the world, or think they ought to run the world.

Every little helps is a proverbial phrase that's been used for generations, and...

...oh, for heaven's sake!

Just invent some new rules!


Word To Use Today: little. This word comes from the Old English lȳtel and is related to lȳr, few, and the Old High German luzzil.

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