DO YOU KNOW
- WHY ‘The dog followed Harry and I’ IS WRONG?
- HOW TO AVOID THE CONSTRUCTION ‘The reason why … was because’?
- WHEN TO USE ‘fewer’ AND WHEN TO USE ‘less’?
All this — and more — was taught in Australian schools many decades ago. Exercises to spell accurately, pronounce words well, and construct grammatically sound sentences were administered to students as young as eleven and twelve.
Through books such as The New Graded Word-Book for Australian Schools, students expanded their vocabulary and learned the conventions of English grammar. The Word-Book covers a range of topics from prepositions to participles, as well as reproducing spelling lists from state departments of education, and extracts of examination papers from UK universities and civil-service tests.
Now, in an era when hardly anybody knows how to use ‘comprise’ correctly, or the difference between ‘uninterested’ and ‘disinterested’, the language foundations we’ve left behind look more than quaint. They might even be useful.