Happy birthday, Harry Blamires!

Harry Blamires (b. 1916) is the oldest living usage guide writer in our HUGE database, and what is more, he has turned 99 today!

Harry Blamires wrote several books on English, such as English in Education (of which I was told by the archivist of Winchester College that they possess a copy from 1951) and The Cassell Guide to Common Errors in English published in 1998 (of which I possess a copy myself). The book we included in the database is The Queen’s English, published in 1994.

In this book, which is still for sale today, we are able to read among many other things that Harry Blamires was not a fan of the modern use of hopefully: “It is a pity that this word has been adopted as a quick way of interjecting ‘I hope’ into a sentence, because it has its own useful connotation”. Though this use of the word has become so widespread today that it might seem futile, twenty years later, to try and make speakers revert to the use of “I hope that …” instead, let us do so for today in celebration of Harry Blamires’ 99th birthday:

Dear Harry, the Bridging the Unbridgeable research project would like to wish you a happy birthday! We hope that you will have a lovely day today and that we may be able to celebrate your 100th birthday next year!


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