Letter: Flexible grammar

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Professor Leech is wrong to be "philosophical" about changes to English ("We're gonna havta go with the flow - official", 13 August). Many are no doubt harmless or indeed beneficial. But some, like the obliteration of the distinctions between "can" and "may" or "will" and "shall", actually impoverish the language.

People will be unable to say things they might quite well want to say. And if schools abandon teaching such differences, children will not understand what they read unless they limit their reading to texts from the last 30 years (and only the more carelessly written of those).

R L STURCH

Kidlington, Oxfordshire

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