"Be in no doubt: the beer was drunk but the man drank the beer."
"We must avoid vulgarities like 'front up'. If someone is 'fronting up' a television show, then he is presenting it."
Simon Heffer's incisive and amusingly despairing emails to colleagues at the The Daily Telegraph about grammatical mistakes and stylistic slips have attracted a growing band of ardent fans over recent years. Now, in his new book Strictly English, he makes an impassioned case for an end to the sloppiness that has become such a hallmark of everyday speech and writing, and shows how accuracy and clarity are within the grasp of anyone who is prepared to take the time to master a few simple rules.
If you wince when you see "different than" in print, or are offended by people who think that "infer" and "imply" mean the same thing, then this book will provide reassurance that you are not alone. And if you believe that precise and elegant English really does matter, then it will prove required reading.
In a career of more than 25 years in Fleet Street Simon Heffer has written columns for and held senior positions on the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator. It was while associate editor of The Daily Telegraph that his emails to staff lamenting their lapses in English became an internet cult, and led to the writing of this book. He read English at Cambridge and holds a PhD from that university in history. His previous books include: Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas Carlyle, Like the Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell, Nor Shall My Sword: The Reinvention of England and Vaughan Williams.