Mar 05, 2014, 02:11 PM, CT, India

This is an excerpt from my recently published book LEARN ENGLISH & FOLLOW UP ESSAYS. Text: To be an alert user of language is one thing. An alert user is a keen watcher of language change and language behavior, But to be a purist in language use is a different thing altogether. A purist resists change. But he is nearly always defeated in the end. Most teachers, I mean language teachers, tend to be purists. I might be one of them myself though I wouldn't like to be one. English for most of us is a second language and as I write this and talk about language use, language behavior, the 'alert' user of language and the purist, I have English, our second language, in mind. What would you do, if you were a teacher and if you were evaluating examination scripts, and someone wrote handkerchieves? If you are a purist, you'll mark it wrong. But if you are an enlightened and an alert user of the language, you'll mark it right. But what would you say about handkerchiefs? Well that looks like the purist's delight, doesn't it? But I'm sure the alert wouldn't mark it wrong either. In fact, if the alert user (of language) were to be the setter (of the question paper) he wouldn't put handkerchief at all in the singular-plural question. #handkerchiefs~-eveskhalique

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