Gove on grammar – Panda-ing to pedants or good advice?

Will Michael Gove’s latest “Golden Rules” of grammar “impact” you?

Technically they shouldn’t, especially under Mr Gove’s own rules – he abhors adjectives as verbs you see…”impact”.

However, (he hates starting a sentence with “however” too) does it actually matter?

I’m not so much speaking (sorry…”writing”) so much about Michael Gove’s version of grammar rules – which seem to me more of a personal style rather than competence – I mean does grammar matter?

I believe it does when it comes to conveying the sense of something but….if the message is understood without recourse to formal structure, are you bothered?

Is anyone REALLY bothered anymore?

The point of grammar is accuracy. Let’s take the brilliant example from Lynne Truss in her classic “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” book.

“A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says, at the door. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

“Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

Now, Mr Gove is known for issuing these often pompous and frequently patronising edicts, see his latest “Golden Rules” in entirety here  – I must confess, I do agree with him on “sorry to hear v sorry to read” but it seems even he could do with brushing up a bit as they are, at best, somewhat idiosyncratic.

If you feel you could brush up, I’d highly recommend Lynne’s book. If you fancy a bash at Gove’s this way.