Language in use  
English Language & Linguistics

English Language



Does Your English Let You Down?


This advertisement appeared regularly in national newspapers.

Read it and consider its implicit assumptions about the notion of correctness in English. what does it say about the power of language in our daily lives?

Then answer the four questions following the article.


Many people use such expressions as "Jane was invited as well as myself" and "was you going tonight?"

Still others say "between you and I" instead of "between you and me". It is astonishing how often "who" is used for "whom" and how frequently we hear such glaring mispronunciations as "tomorrER" and "reservOY". Few know whether to spell certain words with one or two "r"s or "m"s or with "ei" or "ie".

Indeed thousands of talented, intelligent people are held back at work and socially because their command of English does not equal their other abilities.

For example, most people do not realise how much they could influence others simply by speaking and writing with greater power, authority, and precision. Your success depends upon the words you use.

And now the right words are yours to command!

Never again need you fear those embarrassing mistakes. You can quickly and easily be shown how to ensure that everything you say and write is crisp, clear, correct.

This amazing self-training method will show you how to double your powers of self-expression, giving you added poise, self-confidence and greater personal effectiveness. You will discover how you can dominate each situation whether at home, at work, or even in casual conversation with new acquaintances.

What's more, you will command the respect of people who matter, because you'll learn how to use English accurately, impressively, incisively - to cut through every barrier to social, academic, or business success.

1. Consider the first four examples, in paragraphs 1 and 2
a) What is the writer's view of them?
b) To what extent are they examples of the notion of correctness?
c) Explain each of the four examples in linguistic terms.

2. Give some examples of common "mispronunciations".
Explain in what sense or in what circumstances they are considered "wrong".

3. How important is spelling in
a) social terms
b) effective communications
c ) linguistic terms
Explain what you mean in detail, with examples

4. What aspects of dominance and authority are being expressed in this advertisement?

5. Write an entry for your sixth form curriculum booklet to advertise the A level Language course by emphasising the benefits of a knowledge of linguistic principles in students' social and working lives.