I interviewed 3 different linguists from Sheffield Hallam University last week, and I got some interesting opinions that have really helped my research. The questions I asked them were as follows:

  • What is you specialist area within linguistics?
  • Do you think grammar and punctuation is important to the general public anymore?
  • Some people say that grammar and language is declining, how do yo feel about that?
  • Do yo think a campaign promoting ‘correct grammar’ would be effective on the general public? Why?

I first asked these questions to  Dr Jodie Clark, who had a lot to say on the subject, but the main points I got from here were:

Prescriptive views are very opinionated and perhaps not what everyone feels.
Descriptivist views are more what linguists feel -that all form of grammar are correct.

People find grammar important on two levels; real purists who know all about it and maintain the rules, ad the people who notice it unconsciously and judge others on their grammar without noticing.

Language doesn’t decline, it changes and is always changing

you can be at risk of looking unintelligent because of social reality and judgement

punctuation and knowingly using it correctly is not too different from anyone else knowing a lot about their own specialist subject – it is not something that everyone NEEDS to know anymore.


The second interview I did was with Professor Sara Mills, these were the main points I took from her knowledge:

The public view of grammar is extremely different from a linguists point of view.

There is this idea of a ‘fixed grammar’ or traditional grammar, that purists seem to stick to.

Punctuation is important, but not for the reasons most people think.

Language standards have risen within language courses,  this may be because of this prescriptive view that is being idolised.

could we survive without grammar? and interesting point to look into.


My final interview was with Dr Barbara McMahon, and this is what I took away from our chat:

Language changes naturally, and no one seems to notice this so they think it ‘s declining

Linguists try hard to say that ‘all forms of language (including grammar) are correct’

Trying to make people believe there is no ‘correct grammar’ might be difficult

it is deeply engrained into people that there is a ‘right ad wrong’ language.


All of these points will help me with my research, along with the questionnaire I have done, they will provide resources for me to draw from to make a great design project.




I decided the best way to collate some quantitive data about grammar from the public, was to do a questionnaire that is simple, clear and gets results for me to analyse afterwards. the questions I am going to ask are:

1. Age

2. Sex

3. Would you say you know how to use grammar correctly? (Y/N)

4. Do you feel using it correctly is important? (Y/N)

5. Why?

6. Do you think ‘Text speak’ is acceptable in any other context? (Y/N/Sometimes)

7. Why?

I am hoping that these questions will give me some background on the people I am asking (Questions 1&2) and also give me some insight into how people feel about grammar, and if they value it enough to have strong opinions either way on the subject. I am planning on doing the questionnaire at peak times, in 3 different locations, Sheffield town centre, outside Sheffield Hallam University and within Castle Market. I think these three areas will give me results from all types of people, so hopefully my results will reveal something interesting.


After our first presentations yesterday, we got a small amount of feedback from the tutors. I presented about what I think my prospective outcomes of the final project may be, and what methods and approaches I will be taking to get there. I have inserted the slides from my presentation below, so you can see exactly what I told them. The feedback was helpful, they suggested that I may look at contemporary  grammar and how it  has changed and developed, and perhaps celebrate that, rather than just promoting correct grammar in a straight forward campaign.

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Grammar Memes

So, it seems that the internet is aware that using grammar correctly can be funny, and there have been plenty of Memes made using bad grammar as fuel. Here are a few examples that caught my attention.