Grammar myths

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Language Awareness, ISSN: 0965-8416, Vol: 24, Issue: 1, Page: 15-37

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BERRY, Roger
Informa UK Limited; Routledge
Social Sciences; Arts and Humanities; explicit knowledge; grammar; misconceptions; myths; rules
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article description
This paper looks at the continued survival of ‘myths’ about English grammar, for example, the statement that in negative and interrogative sentences any should be used instead of some. It is based on a survey of 195 Hong Kong students majoring in English, in five different cohorts, which found that such myths are quite prevalent; with choices of ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘don't know’ and ‘partly true’, the true option was chosen in over 50% of cases. Differences between subjects are identified and discussed, as well as changes across time from the first to the last cohort. Then the individual myths are discussed and explained one by one. A number of possible sources for the myths are suggested, and the means of combatting them are discussed, along with the reasons for their resilience.