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There was a worrying decline in standards of English from home students from the 1960s because education authorities discouraged correction, and without correction, how can one learn? Teachers were reluctant to teach grammar. Some students had never learnt parts of speech or the use of the apostrophe. Errors such as “seamen” for “semen”, “affect” for “effect” and “complimentary” for “complementary” made nonsense of the science.

For efficient communication, we need fixed agreements on word meanings, or we could have lethal misunderstandings between surgeons and nurses, or pilots and control-tower staff.

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