I have just spent some time considering the ways in which grammar can be an intimidating matter for those many people who feel that they are not entirely competent in it. So although it would be perfectly feasible to examine grammatical terms and their functions straightaway, I am not going to do that. Many such terms are difficult and unhelpful even to those who know what they signify, and I suspect that anyone who has picked up this book looking for enlightenment would not find such an immediately technical approach all that helpful. In keeping with the governing principle outlined in my Preface -
Language - including and especially everyday usage - does not serve grammar: it is the other way round
- I propose instead to give you some immediate hands-on experience of how grammar works in practice.
Below follows a brief narrative of my own devising. It contains thirty real or alleged errors of varying kinds, including wrong or suspect use of words; mistakes in word order; errors in agreement and number; confusion and ambiguity; faulty use of cases. If some of those terms make little or no sense to you, please do not worry and do not stop reading! All the points in question are numbered as the piece unfolds, and full explanations are offered afterwards. Individual readers have their own needs and ways of going about things, so if you at once want to check the 'mistake' with the explanation, fine; you might, however, prefer to think about what is