Attn: Grammar Geeks


Please allow us to introduce you to The Stroppy Editor. (No, he does not work for HITC.)

And no, you need not fear him. After all, he won't be scrutinising your writing, nor will he scrutinize yours, American reader. You need only enjoy his piece entitled 'The very model of an amatuer grammarian'.

The very model of an amateur grammarian

(With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan)

I am the very model of an amateur grammarian

I have a little knowledge and I am authoritarian

But I make no apology for being doctrinarian

We must not plummet to the verbal depths of the barbarian

I’d sooner break my heart in two than sunder an infinitive

And I’d disown my closest family within a minute if

They dared to place a preposition at a sentence terminus

Or sully the Queen’s English with neologisms verminous

I know that ‘soon’ and not ‘right now’ is the true sense of ‘presently’

I’m happy to correct you and I do it oh so pleasantly

I’m not a grammar Nazi; I’m just a linguistic Aryan

I am the very model of an amateur grammarian

I’m sure people appreciate my pointing out their grammar gaffes

And sorting out their sentences and crossing out their paragraphs

When you crusade for good English, it’s not all doom and gloom you sow

The secret of success is: it’s not who you know; it’s whom you know

The standards of our language are declining almost every day

Down from a peak in 18– or 19– I think – well, anyway

Pop music, TV, blogs and texting are inflicting ravages

Upon English and unchecked, this will turn us into savages

I fear that sloppy language is a sign of immorality

For breaking rules of grammar is akin to criminality

So curse those trendy linguists, lexicographers and anyone

Who shuns the model English of the amateur grammarian

Conjunctions at the openings of sentences are sickening

I wish that the decline of the subjunctive were not quickening

And that more people knew the proper meaning of ‘anticipate’

Of ‘fulsome’ and ‘enormity’, ‘fortuitous’ and ‘decimate’

I learned these rules at school and of correctness they’re my surety

I cling to them for safety despite having reached maturity

Some say that language changes, but good English is immutable

And so much common usage now is deeply disreputable

My pedantry’s demanding but I try not to feel bitter at

The fact that everyone I meet is borderline illiterate

When all around are wrong then I am proud to be contrarian

I am the very model of an amateur grammarian


We don't know about you, but we're taking our copy of Fowler's Modern English Usage to bed. We clearly have some catching up to do.

Visit The Stroppy Editor here.