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Episode Info: Speaking and writing correct English are the hallmark of an intelligent person. No one who cares about language wants to be caught splitting an infinitive or muddling up ‘infer’ and ‘imply’. Which is why the bestseller lists are regularly topped by books on 'good' English by the likes of Daily Mail polemicist Simon Heffer and Today programme presenter John Humphrys - both of whom defend the motion in this debate from 5th March 2014. Taking them on were Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge, and Oliver Kamm, top commentator at The Times. No one would dare describe either as lacking in grey matter or being insensitive to good English. So why the disagreement with Heffer and Humphrys? Because people on their side of the argument believe that our language can take care of itself, and that it certainly doesn’t need a bunch of self-appointed rule-book sticklers to make others feel insecure about how they speak and write. Good style matters, they argue, and can be taught but the pedants should stop confusing their pet peeves with ‘correct’ English.Read more »

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