Author Archives: Carmen Ebner

About Carmen Ebner

Carmen Ebner is a sociolinguist. In September 2017, she has obtained her PhD in Linguistics from Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) in the Netherlands, where she worked on a project on language attitudes and prescriptivism in British English. Carmen's research interests include all things sociolinguistics. In particular, she is interested in linguistic discrimination, attitude elicitation techniques, language variation and change, and historical sociolinguistics.

Gove on grammar, again

The former Education Secretary Michael Gove, who has been appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of Justice, has been criticised for ‘patronising’ civil servants with his take on grammar. As an English graduate from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, Gove is known not … Continue reading

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What kind of grammar nerd are you?

Today is National Grammar Day in the US and to celebrate this joyful occasion, Grammarly, a company providing a spell checker and grammar checker with the same title, has published a quiz: What kind of grammar nerd are you? It contains questions on … Continue reading

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David vs Goliath: Oliver Kamm’s take on English usage

I have to admit that reading usage guides can get somewhat boring. Their authors, most of them prescriptivists and literally old-school, frequently use a similar set of usage problems discussing them in a similar manner and expressing similar attitudes. If … Continue reading

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Fix Your Grammar

If you are in a grammar or usage dilemma and looking for a clarification, you can find a huge number of useful and informative websites on grammar and usage advice online. Sometimes you come across advice presented in a somewhat … Continue reading

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Season’s Greetings and other seasonal pitfalls

Christmas is getting closer and the preparations for the festive season are well under way. If you think that pedants and sticklers will grant you some sort of Christmas amnesty, you are most probably wrong. For  them the Christmas season … Continue reading

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Fresh from the English Today press: The dangling participle – a language myth?

The December issue of  English Today contains the latest feature article from our project in which I am discussing the acceptability of the dangling participle. Here are some of the main points addressed in the article The dangling participle – a language myth?: … Continue reading

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A lost cause?

Yesterday Scotland has voted and decided to stay within the United Kingdom. Today newspapers are filled with punchy and informative headlines analysing the outcome of the Scottish referendum. When I was reading an article in The Independent, my eyes fell immediately … Continue reading

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No hard language feelings?

The use of English, or rather its misuse, has often caused the one or the other to throw up his or her (or their?) hands in horror. Last month I attended the English Grammar Day at the British Library in … Continue reading

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Next generation of prescriptivists?

“I am a pedant. There is no question about it. Everyone I know would agree, and I accept and embrace it. I have no problem with being called a nerd, or a geek, or any synonyms of these words.” These … Continue reading

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Yagoda’s Language Madness

March Madness describes a very American phenomenon: the NCAA college basketball tournament. In this tournament college teams compete against each other and by winning move on to the next round. This process is often visualised in so-called brackets, which apparently … Continue reading

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