The Proper English Foundation


November 12, 2014
Arguably the website is no longer in English. (Screenshot from today.) Still, they made a good effort.


September 26, 2013
A shameful misdesignation of that which is a "song" and that which ain't

This tragic error was noticed today on the jazz website Grooves, Hark! dot com. An INSTRUMENTAL piece was unfortunately labelled a "song" and thrice identified as such, even though this track - "You Don't Know What Love Is" - contains no vocals!

What could have caused such a large and ghastly blunder? This website seems arrogantly to have presumed that all tracks are "songs", when in fact a "song" has to have singing in it...
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July 29, 2013
This can be seen currently on's homepage:

"Do does pants mean in the UK? And what is pudding?"

The rantings of a loon. Of course, the correct and Proper version of this sentence would be:

"Who doesn't know what pants means in the UK? And what is for pudding?"

Not every website has yet been equipped with automatic typo-correcting technology. Therefore, unfortunately, some readers of will have been left perplexed by this uncorrected error.

As amusing as it is to see an ...
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January 6, 2013
How to drum up internet traffic
 [ - it's fair use or something]

"Oh, dear", I exclaimed today when I saw the homepage of (actually It seems to have become a middlebrow newspaper website! We know this because they've held a Word Rage forum, where the website asks - urgh! - the public to express its contempt for words that other people use.

Holding a Word Rage forum is a tedious waste of time, but all middlebrow news sites must do it from ...

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November 3, 2012
In language, hell is other people

This article is largely purged from the one I wrote when the Queen's English Society ended. The QES has since reunited for the money, but I made some points then that I still think are valid (first sign of madness, I know). So here they are.

Many books depict language as a stick with which you can hit people you dislike. These books' authors aren't as obviously ridiculous as the QES, and won't actually sound racist against Americans. But it's all over the place...

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August 8, 2012

In June the Queen's English Society announced that it was disbanding due to a lack of misanthropes. Two months later, it still exists. Why?

The QES hasn't corrected its previous announcement by its ex-chairman Rhea Williams, even though several British national newspapers reported the Society's apparent death. Maybe the QES's remaining members don't mind the bad publicity of being thought dead. Maybe they're incompetent. Whatever the reason, they had fooled us all!

But the QES'...

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June 24, 2012
The QES is gone, but the English language lives on

As reported on Language Log, the Queen's English Society has been disbanded. Don't worry, royalists: the Queen was not harmed. Now that her name is no longer associated with a shitty little club for misanthropes, I'm sure she can only prosper.

The QES had already closed its inept English Academy in November 2010 after much negative publicity and bad, punctuation. Our language seems to have survived well since then, even without its pompous poli...

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February 8, 2012
Grammar nazis who are communists

Doina Doru was a proof-reader for a state newspaper in communist Romania. As I'm sure you will remember, at the time the country was ruled by dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu – a notorious boor – who instituted a remarkable sense of orthographical paranoia in the media.

Ceaușescu's name was a cause of stress, according to Ben Lewis's book Hammer & Tickle. Mis-spelling "Nicolae" was sure to cause trouble, Lewis writes, because "Nicholai" meant "small penis".


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November 13, 2011
Can we crowdsource a dictionary?

Several online dictionaries use crowd-sourcing, whereby the common mass of proletarians can create a collective work without being paid. This article examines one dictionary where this system works (Wiktionary), and another where it doesn't (

Dictionaries are very much the "holy bibles" of we Correct Linguisticians. In the offices of the OED, Merriam-Webster and Herr Duden alike, inspired authors known as dictionariers think of words so tha...

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October 27, 2011
Here is a list of body parts that are also verbs (naturally biassed towards my own idiolect).
to head home / head for the hills
to nose into s.b.'s affairs
to mind your own business
to scalp an enemy/a ticket
to brain s.b. (hit s.b. on the head)
to cheek s.b. (be cheeky to a teacher or other authority figure)
to face each other
to ear (when ears of wheat grow)
to eye (up) an opportunity
to lip a golfing hole, with a golf ball
to tongue s.b. (french-kiss s.b.)
to ...

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October 14, 2011
The most flexible word in the English language?

I believe it is a mark of the wide diversity of English, and the inventiveness of its speakers, that our language has at least six different meanings for the F-word, "football". Wherever a person is in the world, what they call "football" might not be a sport that people in other countries recognise as such.

I know. I'm as sickened by it as you are. Whether due to regional accent or bad teachering over the past 150 years but particularly the last ...
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August 16, 2011
Linguistic Hacks on Tour, episode 1: New Zealand!

The worldwide sport of linguo-hackery and quackery made it into the news last month, as an Englishman tried to cause an international incident, and more importantly gain attention, by lecturing these Kiwis on quite how bad their English is!

A district council added a macron to its place name, “Kapiti”, changing it to “Kāpiti” to reflect Māori spelling.   They’re paying $7,000-10,000 to replace their old 
Kapiti Coast welcome sig...
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May 7, 2011

Happy news!
The Queen’s English Society closed their English Academy in November 2010 and deleted its educational content, leaving ours as the only credible academy that the English language any longer has.   The world is a strange place sometimes.

As of 2011, the remaining 4 academy members have set up an archive of their hilariously ill-informed, slang-fearing academy: the Academy of Contemporary English. But our newer and flashier Académie von ...

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May 7, 2011
Selecting the King of the PEF  [pd]
(“President” is an Americanism)

The time has come for us to choose our leader, he who shall be beloved of all members and whose standard of English we will not question.   
Prospective candidates!  Post your credentials below or submit an E.-mail titled “Why I should be King”, approx. 200 words in length, to the web-Mister. (Female applicants may use “Queen”, though there’s no reason to be so politically-correct.)

Describe what makes you a Very G...

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May 7, 2011

Yes, it is actually possible to join our organisation! Only a fool would not do so.     Simply send your application, and membership fee of A Wad Of Cash, to our office at
PO Box Several,
Centre of Core English-Land,
I mean Cloud-Cuckoo Land
As a member, you’ll receive our monthly quarterly magazine, Conquest.

  Our church [pd]
 (reposted from Dec 2010)
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