Bad grammar in a unionist leader could be seen by political rivals as weakness

A letter from George McNally:

Monday, 24th May 2021, 9:42 am
Updated Monday, 24th May 2021, 1:46 pm
Edwin Poots, pictured at Stormont just after he had been elected DUP leader, is prone to grammatical solecisms. Picture Pacemaker

Does grammar proclaim the man or woman?

Edwin Poots the new leader of the DUP, is prone to grammatical solecisms.

Recent examples are:

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Letter to the editor

1. In replying to Tara Mills (BBC Evening Extra, May 18) on events leading to the ousting of Arlene Foster he said: “Speculate who done what.”

• See below Ben Lowry on bad grammar

2. On the RTÉ News (9 pm) during an interview about the Northern Ireland Protocol he remarked: “Things have went too far.”

3. On the Nolan Show (May 19) in a past clip about relationships with Sinn Fein he shouted: “I hold my nose about what has went on in the past.”

4. On Nolan Show (May 20) he said: “I don’t believe that [the report] has went into the detail in an appropriate way ...” and “... the people [at] that funeral were wrong in what they done ...”

5. Later in a chat about Arlene Foster’s departure he comments: “Every political leader who has went.”

My concern is that with tough negotiations coming about the future of Northern Ireland a unionist leader’s solecisms will be detected as a sign of weakness by political opponents skilled in concealing true motivations and aims.

Grammatical conventions (note that I don’t use the word ‘rules’) change with time and daily conversations are less rigorous than the written word.

George McNally, Londonderry

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