Education: I Didn't Do Nothing

Dickens used like as a conjunction; Winston Churchill says "This is me"; and authors from Shakespeare to Shaw have followed everyone with a they. Meredith wrote "Who has he come for?" and Dryden said "these kind of thoughts." Byron was forever using don't with a singular subject ("She will come round—mind if she don't"), and Lytton Strachey apparently never mastered the difference between lie and lay.

Unfortunately, .says Professor Thomas Pyles of the University of Florida, the average educated American has mastered the rules of grammar, and his speech is "frequently dry, dull, tedious,...

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