Interesting People - Michael Gove

Michael Gove, beloved by teachers everywhere, has issued civil servants working under him in his new role as head of the Department of Justice, with detailed guidance on his idea of what constitutes good grammar.

(The guidelines, entitled Ministerial Correspondence Preferences, tell officials to write “make sure” instead of “ensure” and to avoid using the word “impact” as a verb. He is also unhappy with the use of contractions, such as “doesn’t”, and the deployment of “yet” and “however” at the beginning of sentences. It also suggests that “the phrases best-placed and high-quality are joined with a dash, very few others are” and discourages unnecessary capitalisation and repetition.

This is two years after he circulated “10 golden rules” to officials in the Department for Education, but it isn't the first time government officials have done this kind of thing: In 2012 the then environment secretary Owen Paterson issued a 10-point list which included a ban on his department’s officials starting sentences with “and” or “but”.

Justine Greening, as transport secretary in 2011, had her officials draft a five-page instruction manual on grammar and style, which stated that she did not approve of the use of adverbs or abbreviations in official documents.

It's nice to see they are dealing with such important issues.  After all, in the UK, there's no flooding, or pollution, the jails aren't overcrowded, our education is the best in the world, the trains all run on time, and the roads are in no way conjested. Yes, definitely time to let the inner grammar nazi loose.)

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