William Hague, Amazon in race for ‘Bad Grammar Award’

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2015 10:49 IST

The silly season is coming to a close but there’s just about time for that quirky British award: the winner of the 2015 Bad Grammar Award will be revealed next Thursday from a short-list that includes online retail giant Amazon and former foreign secretary William Hague.

Industry leaders have long despaired that British students pass out of schools and universities without basic literacy skills, but the award nominations reveal that the grammatical challenge extends beyond basic education.

The award, instituted by an academy associated with the ‘Idler’ magazine to highlight “the incorrect use of English by people and institutions who should know better”, is being judged by a panel chaired by the prominent television anchor, Jeremy Paxman.

On Thursday, organisers gave HT examples of the nominated entries that include “Amazon for their absurdly badly written ‘Leadership Principles’; Oliver Kamm, The Times's anti-grammar Nazi, for his attacks on the apostrophe and other useful conventions; William Hague for grammatical blunders in his first column for The Daily Telegraph; and (Chelsea manager) José Mourinho for various baffling utterances”.

Grammarian John Seely clinically pointed out errors in Amazon’s ‘Leadership Principles’, while the first paragraph of Hague’s first column has a grammatical howler.

“He talks about how he and Tony Blair used to discuss which of them had ‘the best job’. It should, of course, have been ‘the better job’. And there is also Jose Mourinho. Have you noticed that his post-match whinges are hard to understand? You may get the basic drift but actually reading the comments is a disorientating experience, the phrases never quite coming into focus”, the organisers said.

Seely also pointed out howlers from Channel 4 television:

The former cabinet minister has been advising the Labour party on 'how to militate against a possible legal quagmire';

'Just being at the cusp of this turning point could add to market jitters';

'These measures have actively backfired';

'It is a road that led to many places – places with huge gaps left behind.'

The 2014 Bad Grammar Award was won by supermarket chain Tesco for describing its own brand of orange juice as ‘most tastiest’.

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