Letter: Messy grammar

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The Independent Online
Messy grammar

Sir: Myself, I like the idea of a Tuareg daintily wiping his/her feet with a toe-rag after treading grapes, but I fear Walter Roberts ("Grammarians weep! The bell tolls for `whom' ", 14 June) is way off beam as the true derivation is quite different and far smellier/more smelly.

Coarse rags made from tow-coloured flax or jute were commonly used a century or more ago to clear up the most revolting mess - in hospitals and prisons for example; hence the term "filthy little tow-rag" to describe someone of stomach-turning vileness.

JOHN APPLETON

Northampton

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