The Queen's English

Donald M. Lance engdl at SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU
Tue May 4 15:37:30 UTC 1999

Someone gave me an article from the Washington Post, Sun Mar 21, 1999, p.
B4, by T. R. Reid, the Post's London bureau chief, lamenting the state of
the Queen's English.  Some examples:

The Queen herself, in her annual address to her subjects:
  The young can sometimes be wiser than us.

The secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Marjorie "Mo" Mowlam:
  The right honorable gentleman's reply demonstrates
  the difference between he and I.

The deputy prime minister, John Prescott:
  The gentleman asks who is responsible.
  And the answer is, him!

The prime minister, Tony Blair:
  We have said that each member should make their own choice.
  Every person in Northern Ireland can vote as they want.

A BBC news anchor:
  Almost every driver will find their taxes increased.

The spokesman for a national retail chain:
  If someone wants to pay in euros they can.

Novelist Anthony Powell:
  Delavacquerie allowed everyone to examine proofs
  as long as they wished.

A newspaper profile on the Marquess of Bristol:
  He loathes people who are richer than him,

A prominent cricket coach:
  I'm sure our boys can play stronger than them.

Glen Hoddle, who was fired recently as England's national soccer coach for
expressing unpopular opinions:
  I did not say them things.

Penny Wark, a deputy editor at the Times of London:
  My hackles rise every time I hear someone say
  "them books," "I done it," "It weren't me."
  It is classless and can be heard on buses and trains
  from Essex to Derbyshire, from Teeside to Bristol,
  as well as at press conferences.

England's most popular TV "presenter," or anchorman, Trevor McDonald, was
so disturbed by the ungrammatical sound bites he heard on his own program
that he started a nationwide "Better English Campaign."  Quote:
  We seem to neglect English while other people
  around the world are rushing to learn it.

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