Loosen up lads. Next you'll be saying that American spelling and punctuation is "incorrect". It's certainly not the same as our usage. Or maybe you'll be game and say that Shakespeare's English was "incorrect". Well, no-one writes like that these days, do they. So who is correct: Shakespeare or us? Or perhaps you think that the grammar of Yorkshire is "incorrect" because it is different from the grammar of the Home Counties (and hence Alan Bennett is a poor writer). If so, you are forgetting legitimate variety and unstoppable flux. One more example of a thousand possible examples: less than a hundred years ago, it was considered standard English to place a space between the last word in a sentence and the final question mark or exclamation mark. Was that practice "incorrect"? Or are we "incorrect" because we don't do that now ? Will you still be saying that "disinterested" means objective and impartial when 95% of the population understands the word to mean bored or lacking in interest? Perhaps a villain really is a serf, not a crook. It's really time to stop using words like "incorrect" and "wrong" when it comes to what is purely conventional and forever changing. Words like "unconventional" or "unusual" are far better. In which case media might well be a legitimate source (one of many) of information about conventional usage. And in which case descriptivist dictionaries like the Macquarie are better friends than old-fashioned prescriptivist dictionaries. Let's go back to basics. Do you write to communicate? Or write to instantiate a set of supposedly immutable laws of grammar? If you want to write according to the so-called immutable rules of ninetieth-century grammar books, you risk communication breakdown as readers become increasingly distracted by what they perceive as quaint, odd or even stuffy. Put another way, if you write to communicate, it pays to adopt the language of your intended audience, whether you like it or not. Your prejudices shouldn't enter into the equation. Here's to the Macquarie Dictionary, the only authoritative source for information about how Australians use their language. And why shouldn't we use our language? I suspect, Brian and Ken, that you would rather us Australians to spell "organise" as "organize". (Wasn't that the spelling of so-called standard English?) And you are no doubt tut-tutting at the "and" at the start of this sentence, even though it is a common practice and has been so for many hundreds of years, by writers renown and otherwise. Shakespeare too. Finally, a pertinent quote from George Orwell, written in 1946: " The defence of the English language … has nothing to do with setting up a ‘standard English’ which must never be departed from [nor with] correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one’s meaning clear …” Here, here. A grammatically perfect sentence punctuated majestically can still fail to get its message across. I'm with Orwell: it's time we worried more about communicating and less about what is supposedly correct and incorrect. Geoffrey Marnell Principal Consultant Abelard Consulting Pty Ltd T: +61 3 9596 3456 F: +61 3 9596 3625 W: <http://www.abelard.com.au/> www.abelard.com.au Skype: geoffrey.marnell _____ From: austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ken Randall Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 3:42 PM To: austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: atw: Re: Correct usage conundrum: "Match to" vs "Match with" I was using the media as an example of incorrect usage. --- On Sat, 30/1/10, Brian Clarke <brianclarke01@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: From: Brian Clarke <brianclarke01@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> Subject: atw: Re: Correct usage conundrum: "Match to" vs "Match with" To: austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Received: Saturday, 30 January, 2010, 2:59 PM Only the Macq uses the media as an arbiter of correct usage. I use the media as Aunt Sallies at which to throw shies. Matched 'against' is another possibility - as in sports contests. Brian. _____ Yahoo!7: Catch-up on your favourite Channel 7 TV shows easily, legally, and for free at PLUS7. Check it out <http://au.rd.yahoo.com/tv/catchup/tagline/*http://au.tv.yahoo.com/plus7/?cmp=mailtag> .