Melbourne, June 13 : An Australian academic has slammed a grammar guide aimed at teachers - describing it as 'the worst published material on English grammar' he has seen.
University of Queensland emeritus professor Rodney Huddleston, one of the principal authors of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, said that the guide circulated by the English Teachers Association of Queensland is riddled with basic errors.
He said that a series of articles on grammar published in the ETAQ's journal is striking for its confusion of the parts of speech, incorrectly labeling nouns as adjectives, verbs as adverbs and phrases as verbs.
Huddleston said that it took the association about one year to correct the errors, and even then it confined most of the corrections to its website rather than in the journal and did not republish the guide.
"These articles contain a huge amount of error, inconsistency and confusion. They constitute, without question, the worst published material on English grammar by a native speaker that I have come across," The Australian quoted him, as saying.
"(The author) clearly does not know enough about English grammar in general to take on work of this kind.
"Anyone who analyses 'won't' and 'capable of' as adverbs, 'a pair' and 'set of' as adjectives, or 'Sam's' as a possessive pronoun has no business to be preparing a resource on English grammar for teachers," he added.
The articles, published with the general title Grammar at the Coalface, were prepared by Lenore Ferguson, the editor of the ETAQ journal Words'Worth and published over a series of months last year.
Ferguson printed three examples of the errors in the March edition, saying that they were 'the result of the usual mishaps with work that undergoes several drafts and is proofed and edited by the original writer'.
She said that the points Professor Huddleston identified were differences of opinion rather than mistakes.
"They weren't all mistakes as he described but differences of opinion and that's the way of the world," she said.
Ferguson said Huddleston did not follow traditional grammar but had invented his own type, called the Cambridge grammar, which was unique and had reclassified terms, such as calling prepositions conjunctions.
"It's a totally different perspective and a totally different way of organizing and thinking about language," she said.