Here is 'main clause': 'I ate a bun.' If I put a) 'Happily', or b) 'In the morning' or c) 'When I got up' in front or before 'I ate a bun', it's a fronted adverbial. (a) is an adverb, b) is an adverbial phrase, c) is an adverbial clause.
1. Why has this feature of sentence structure been singled out for special mention? There is no answer to this question from grammarians. An 'adverbial' can come after a 'main clause'. Why not identify and name this? No answer.
2. My point is that this bit of terminology is random and even by its own rules is illogical. You can put words and phrases in front of main clauses that modify the 'subject' of the clause rather than the verb ie they're 'adjectival'.
3. 'With a face like thunder, Michael stormed out.' Clearly this is a description of Michael. It's not 'adverbial'. The terminology is useless and arbitrary.
4. These abstract ways of 'segmenting' sentences and giving them names tell us nothing about purpose, meaning, function. They offer us no view on *why people choose to speak or write in this way - matters which are to do with who is speaking, to whom, the 'genre' in question.
5. In some languages (eg German) putting words in front of the main clause results in 'inversion' of subject and main verb: 'Alone stood he on the cliff.'
6. The main grammarian who advised the government of SPaG grammar says that Gove was asking for more terminology and the grammarian blurted out 'fronted adverbial' as an aside and Gove leaped on it and said 'Yes!'
7. The grammarian in question now regrets this because he thinks it has little or no importance in the general run of this kind of 'grammar'.
8. A further insight into the arbitrary and illogical way this was all decided: Gove told the grammarians he wanted to include the 'subjunctive'. The grammarians said no, because the subjunctive in English is a much disputed matter.
9. Some argue that what is identified as the subjunctive in English is nothing like the fully conjugated subjunctives you find in eg French. They argue that it's more like a residual oddity and should be called something different.
10. Gove insisted. The grammarians were overruled. The result is under-11 year olds hunting these rare usages, applying a name that is inconsistent with other European languages on the whim of someone who is not a linguist.
11. This field of SPaG 'grammar' is exceptionally weak in explaining or describing real usage because it ignores the reasons for our choices of how to speak and write, which are based on many things, not just the abstract rules invented by grammarians - and much disputed at that.
12. Real language in use depends on who is speaking/writing, to whom, what context, register, genre is the person speaking or writing. A useful and 'functional' grammar would or should include these elements.
13. Consequence of SPaG teaching in primary schools is giving under-11 year olds a false sense of what is right, what is 'good writing' - especially as 'good writing' is supposed to display the prescribed SPaG features eg 'expanded noun phrase' as if this is better than a 'noun'
14. This claim is nonsense because it is taking the abstract description - 'expanded noun phrase' and giving it high status separate from context, purpose, audience, register ie sometimes an 'e.n.p' might be good, sometimes useless.
15. We should remember that the historical reason for the terminology of all this 'grammar' is derived from people trying to describe one very specific use of language: the Latin written by a tiny segment of Roman society.
16. That's why when the systems of this 'grammar' are applied to real speech, real language in use in eg songs, TV, film, newspapers, grammarians keep talking about 'exceptions' or that this is 'block language' as if it is incomplete or rare. This is a nonsense too.

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More from @MichaelRosenYes

18 Dec 20
My tweet March 18:

Where? Where do you get tested?
Reply from Mark Urban (BBC)
No simple answer to that yet Michael, it will still be largely hospital based. They are still very short of testing kits, but I would be surprised if testing doesn’t rise well above 25k a day in time
March 20
Day 5 No change.All food and drink tastes like metallic sick. Shakes. Aches. Beware paracetomol o/d. Sweats.
Read 10 tweets
2 Nov 20
Just in case there are people who want to make me into a lock down zealot, I'll just say that I don't know anymore than any other non-expert whether that's the right thing to do now, or whether it should have been better some time ago. That's for real experts.
What I am much more clear about is that if test, trace and isolate, along with masks, wash and social distance had all been in place in March and continued to be in place, we would have and could save lives and #longcovid
A crucial factor to feed into this is the relative success or failure of medication for people who get Covid. Word of mouth from a consultant told me that in the early stages, they had great difficulty in figuring out how or why this virus works in the body and what could beat it
Read 10 tweets
2 Sep 20
At the time that 'Rule Britannia' was written, 'Britons never...will be slaves' was a triumphalist cry that 'we' were superior to those who were slaves - the peoples forcibly taken from Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas where they were bought and sold and forced to labour
There have been loud objections to the satirical use (or misuse) of the Nazi slogan 'Arbeit macht frei' as it was felt that it was an insult to the descendants of Nazi victims. Surely 'Rule Britannia' is as much if not worse an insult to the descendants of slaves.
Benjamin Zephaniah made clear on @BBCRadio4 #WorldAtOne that these kinds of words and statues that celebrate the perpetrators of slavery stand in triumph over him and are an insult to him @BZephaniah
Read 4 tweets
15 Mar 20
1/ The immunity principle works on the basis that a person produces enough antibodies to consume the virus and the body retains the capacity to produce these specific antibodies should more of that virus enter the body.
2/ The problem with e.g. the polio virus was that it even though some people seem to have immunity, a socially unacceptable number of people did not. The 'herd' did not produce enough people who were immune. Only the vaccine which artificially produces immunity...
3/ ...cut the 'success' of the polio virus down and in many countries 'out'. The vaccine works on the basis of creating a 'false infection' ie very mild, but the person produces the antibodies which then in most cases are there in the body should some polio virus turn up.
Read 13 tweets
11 Dec 19
1/ Hi John. You DM'd me in October with this:
"All meetings and letters will be available for public scrutiny . No antisemitism by anyone will be left unchallenged . As indep advisor I will not be giving a running commentary on Corbyn, Williamson , Rees Mogg or anyone else ....
2/But I put everything in writing, so you will have the opportunity to assess.
@LordJohnMann 3/You said that you wouldn't 'be giving a running commentary...' and yet, when I look at your timeline, it's full of retweets and comments. You've given the example of Rees-Mogg: not a thing. Why would that be? @LordJohnMann
Read 14 tweets
10 Dec 19
Hello again, John. Do you remember you DM'd me, reassuring me that you were dealing with the Rees-Mogg matter and that you won't be commenting on individual cases. So far, though, nothing in Rees-Mogg and lots of comments on individual cases. @LordJohnMann
@LordJohnMann As this was several weeks ago and we have an election coming up, it does seem like a very strange case of selectivity going on. You seem to have left out or overlooked Rees-Mogg (and other cases) from your tweets. @LordJohnMann
@LordJohnMann To be honest John, given that you are (as far as I know) being paid by us to be the 'Antisemitism Tsar' I'm finding it troubling that you're not interested in Johnson's history of antisemitic tropes, editing of 'Taki', Rees-Mogg's jibes, Cummings's dog-whistling of Goldman Sachs
Read 17 tweets

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