There, I’ve said it and as someone who lives in possibly the most politically correct borough in the entire country (apart from maybe Hebden Bridge or Totnes?) I know what I should and shouldn’t say and realise that this is probably marked non PC, even God forbid Tory, but I as I get older I feel there are some things that need to be said and this is one of them.
Everyone (bar children who have been raised by wolves) knows what word goes where, but they often chose to ignore the rules and develop their own version of the Queens (now I really do sound like a Tory/Radio 4 Feedback listener) English.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of accents – I have one myself – regional slang, text speak and the made up words that teenagers invent – as these are the things that make the English language so interesting and varied. But I do have a problem with incorrect tense and using the wrong word in the wrong place.
Maybe its age that’s made me less tolerant, but recently, instead of making me mildy irritated, it starting to make me angry – which is a bit of a worry.
About a month ago, when travelling on a train up North, I was sitting next to a group of primary school teachers. They were clearly going on an Easter holiday treat and were drinking wine (at 4pm, but I’m not one to judge!) and chatting about their school and pupils. How nice, I thought, I wouldn’t mind them teaching my children (or more realistically grand children – but lets not dwell on that!).
They were speaking perfectly normally and suddenly, then there it was, dropped into the conversation without warning – “yes I know, I were going to tell her”.
NO, she couldn’t have said that, she’s a teacher, her job is to teach people to read and write – how could she?
I thought I must have misheard, but probably not, as M.A.D will tell you – I’m something of an expert when it comes to listening to other people’s conversations. Then there it was again – “we was going to go……………”.
It’s wrong to speak like this at the best of times, but from teachers it’s downright criminal.
The urge to tap one of them gently on the shoulder and say “you do know it’s I was going to tell her, and we were going to blah blah blah. You are teachers aren’t you – is that how teach your pupils to talk”?
Luckily I stopped myself ,as I was wearing some kind of ridiculous outfit and already stood out as a “weird London sort” and was aware that potentially the whole train could turn on me and expose me as the hideous stuck up southerner I am – but I DON’T CARE.
It’s wrong just wrong, everyone knows the correct tense, so why don’t the use it. And Scottish people, stop saying “I seen it”, you didn’t seen it, you saw it. OK?
There is also a whole new level of incorrect grammar – which drives me to distraction every time I have to call the bank, repair centres, online retailers etc etc. The language of “official speak” is cultivated in call centres and corporate companies across the country and is encouraging probably perfectly pleasant call centre workers to sound like automated robots without a personality, or mind of their own. Someone somewhere is writing scripts for these poor people to use, so that they can pretend they are “chatting” to callers.
God help them when they encounter someone like me.
“Is there anything else I can do for yourself today”?
Don’t get me started………….