Hielke Vriesendorp is a research master student of Linguistics at Leiden, who is trying to collect data for his paper for Ingrid Tieken’s MA course Testing Prescriptivism. To this end, he compiled a brief survey asking about people’s Top 5s of most important grammatical errors. Please help him get data for his paper by filling in this poll!
Some further explanation perhaps? In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, David Crystal discusses a “Grammatical Top Ten” which includes shibboleths like the split infinitive, preposition stranding and the double negative. Hielke suspects that nobody is worried about the split infinitive as a usage problem anymore (though perhaps they are!), and would like to know what other usage problems people encounter in their day-to-day communications.
I wonder what’s meant by a “grammatical mistake” or “grammatical error”–a genuine error such as might be made by a non-native speaker of a language but not (usually) by a native speaker? a divided usage that has become a shibboleth in the complaint tradition? the kind of thing an editor might correct (such as using “imply” or “infer” where the other seemed to the editor to be preferable).
I also wonder what’s meant by a “top” “grammatical mistake” or “grammatical error”–most frequent one? most likely to confuse?
Without some explanation of terms, the results are likely to produce apples and oranges, making it impossible to compare findings from one person to another.
Done! Thanks, Ed! We are looking forward to your Top 5.
The survey is missing the age bracket 41-50 (where I am)
I’ll tell Hielke! I’m sure he didn’t mean to leave you out. Thanks for letting us know.
Thanks for commenting, I’ve corrected it!
Dear Ruby, Hielke has adapted the survey straight away, thank you for letting us know! I hope you will still let us know what your Top 5 usage problems are. Best wishes,