Dr Syntax and Mrs Grundy. The great grammar crusade
In the paper, which is part of her 1995 book Verbal Hygiene, the author discusses the two major threads — political and educational — of the public debate that swept Britain in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The dispute focused mainly on grammar and language in general; both were given not only political but also moral meaning. According to conservatives, traditional grammar and standard English, supported by traditional teaching in traditional grammar schools, have other qualities as well, qualities that every respectable citizen or decent human being in general should have: discipline, rules, respect for authority, etc. It is in defence of these values that a great crusade was launched at the time, crusade that was grammatical as well as national, political and moral.