Who was Sir Ernest Gowers?

Sir Ernest Gowers is known for his revision of Fowler’s Modern English Usage. However, there is more to find out about Sir Ernest Gowers.

Bridging the Unbridgeable

While browsing in one of the many second hand bookshops in Scotland, I came across a familiar name: Sir Ernest Gowers.

Gowers, known for his revision of H.W. Fowler’s Modern English Usage, also published other reference works such as the gem which I can now proudly call mine: The Complete Plain Words, a combination of Gowers’s Plain Words and The ABC of Plain Words. Intrigued by my new acquisition, I wanted to know more about who Sir Ernest Arthur Gowers was and why he was entrusted with the revision of Modern English Usage.

Gowers (1880 -1966) worked and gained an excellent reputation as a public servant chairing numerous associations and commissions in England. His impressive career as a public servant, however, struck me as odd, yet fascinating, having known Gowers only for his revision of Fowler. So what was it then that made him qualified…

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Would your mum understand?

Gove’s 10 golden rules on how to write properly.

Bridging the Unbridgeable

In the past few months, Education Secretary Michael Gove, a former journalist, has hit the front page with his plans to introduce new grammar and spelling tests in UK schools. Now he is back in the headlines:

Would your mum understand it? Michael Gove bans jargon in education department“, “Gove’s golden rules for writing: can you do better?“.

These headlines announce Gove’s new venture of banning jargon from the department’s correspondence and giving advice on how to write properly by introducing 10 golden rules:

1.   If in doubt, cut it out.
2.   Read it out loud – if it sounds wrong, don’t send it.
3.   In letters, adjectives add little, adverbs even less.
4.   The more the letter reads like a political speech the less good it is as a letter.
5.   Would your mum understand that word, phrase or sentence? Would…

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