Irregardless of your agreeance: language pedants are crying foul too often | Sue Butler

Sue Butler edited the Macquarie Dictionary of Australian English for almost 40 years. There are some misuses that matter to her – and others that don’t

As the long-term editor of an English dictionary, I have arrived at the trouble with pedants: they cry foul too often. I have a sneaking suspicion that the desire to be right is more important to them than the desire to defend the language from degradation, which is what they claim to do. In many instances the transgression that they lament is simply an instance of language change (“agreeance” v “agreement”, for instance), or a variation that is accepted in the community but not their personal choice (the pronunciation of “schedule”), or an innovation that, conservative as they are by nature, they do not like (the use of “agenda” as a verb).


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