Magazine June 22, 2020, Issue

Killing Grammar: Part II of a Three-Part Series

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The year was 1974. That was the last time a set of comprehensive guidelines would be issued on how to teach English usage in American schools. The author was Robert C. Pooley of the University of Wisconsin, with the backing of the National Council of Teachers of English. He wrote these guidelines after a distinguished career in teaching English grammar and usage.

Pooley was reacting in part against the view that English teachers had stopped being linguistic traffic cops (by correcting students’ speech and writing) and had instead begun assembling data on how often traffic laws were violated — without issuing

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Bryan A. Garner — Mr. Garner is the author of The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation, Garner’s Modern English Usage, and The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing.

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