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Brandon Robshaw: My Mission

My mission is to comment on, discuss, analyse, celebrate and sound the tocsins about the English language as it is used today, in the media, in literature and in ordinary speech. Here I shall be discussing points of grammar, new words, new slang, new cliches, new malapropisms – in short all the good and bad things about the way English is used today and the way it is changing. There seem to be two rival schools of thought on this: a) English is in a bad way, deteriorating fast, people today don’t understand correct grammar or accurate usage etc; and b) language change is inevitable and we should celebrate, rather than deplore this. I don’t belong to either camp. My view is that some changes are for the better, some for the worse; some are funny, some are annoying; some can be resisted or reversed, some can’t.

  1. Mark Brafield permalink

    I have two dear American friends. Part of my love for them is the genuine way in which one says ‘phooey’ when things go wrong, and other, ‘dang nabbit’, a phrase I last heard on Deputy Dawg circa 1970.

    (Slightly off topic, I also cherish my friends who genuinely say ‘tee hee’ and ‘hee hee’ when they laugh ; I want to make them laugh just to hear it).

    On that subject, there is, surely, an entry to be written about BBC continuity announcers ‘comic’, but actually painful, attempts to pronounce foreign accents with a jaunty note. ‘Deputy Dawg’ was always good value, whilst the classic was, of course, ”Allo, ‘allo’.


  2. Hello:-) I’m currently teaching young adults with dyslexia and am interested in reading Ghost Dog with them. However, I see it’s not available on Amazon. Can you tell me where I could get copies of the book? I hope you don’t mind me contacting you this way, I’m not sure where else I can go to. Many thanks, Roberta.

    • Hi Roberta – sorry to have been so long in replying! Your message somehow slipped under my radar. Unfortunately I don’t know if I can help you with Ghost Dog! If it’s not on Amazon it may no longer be available. You might try contacting the publishers, Hodder? I’m very pleased that you’d like to use it with your class, though!

      Best wishes

  3. Henry permalink

    Thanks for the blog – I’ve been enjoying it for a while. What are your thoughts on ‘they’ as a replacement for ‘he or she’?

  4. Henry permalink

    Dear Brandon,

    Thanks for getting back to me, I appreciate it. Thanks also for the link – I had searched through your archive before posting, I was sure you must have already written about this, but I missed it.

    This issue has been annoying me a lot more and a lot longer than it should have done. I think I will embrace ‘they’ in future. ‘They’ is less clumsy than ‘he or she’, but I felt I couldn’t just ignore the ‘Rule of Number’. I tended to write ‘(s)he’ but was never satisfied with that either.


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