Author Archives: Ingrid Tieken

Just out: Proper English Usage

Lying on my desk since yesterday: Carmen Ebner’s PhD thesis, all shiny and new. It is the first proper book published in our research project. Congratulations, Carmen! And all the best with your defense on 5 September. You’ll do us … Continue reading

Posted in polls and surveys | 4 Comments

A postdating for the OED – with thanks to Kingsley Amis

What other words are there for stickler, pedant or pundit, Lonneke van Leest-Kootkar asked in a blogpost last year. Rebecca Gowers, in Horrible Words (2016), chose to use the word griper instead of stickler (a word I will always associate with Lynne Truss). … Continue reading

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Dutch letters to the editor

In my experience, letters to the editor are not a frequent phenomenon in Dutch newspapers, at least not when they deal with language, and in any case not in the daily newspaper I read, NRC Handelsblad.  A while ago I … Continue reading

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Another Americanism?

In her book Horrible Words: A Guide to the Misuse of English (2016), Rebecca Gowers uses the word gripers in preference to sticklers (a word I myself always associate with Lynne Truss’s  famous Eats Shoots and Leaves), and in her paper at our Life after HUGE? symposium … Continue reading

Posted in usage features | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

“But this is what I was taught in school!”

This is not the kind of comment you’d expect to hear from British informants when asked about the acceptability of particular disputed usage items, given the lack of formal grammar teaching in UK schools since the 1960s and 70s. It … Continue reading

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Discourse marker like and the joys of serendipity

Discourse marker like is finding its way into usage guides, as Viktorija Kostadinova shows in her work. None of the usage guides in the HUGE database, all published before 2010, has an entry on like.  But some writers do discuss it, even … Continue reading

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More than th-fronting

I keep on looking for instances of prescriptivism or metalinguistic comments on prescriptive issues in English literature. My call for examples in English Today recently did not produce any more examples unfortunately. The solution? Keep on reading, and even rereading. … Continue reading

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