Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Some previous studies (eg Watson, 1978; Collins, 1979) have found that while Australian teachers are sensitive to traditional prescriptions such as the use of rather than in object function, and rather than Australian students accept language variation more readily. This paper aims to examine whether Australian teachers nowadays still display more conservative attitudes towards disputable usages than their students. Data were collected via several elicitation tests. In the first survey, 34 Australian English teachers and 54 Australian high school students were invited to participate in a judgement test. In the second survey, 73 Australian teachers and 207 Australian students were presented with a slot-filling test and a proofreading test. The findings showed considerable differences between teachers and students towards disputable usages. Australian teachers had a higher tendency to reject and replace items such as and dangling participles. This suggests that tolerance diminishes with involvement in teaching.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Billing, M.
    (1994) New syllabus English. Sydney: Braxus Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Blaxell, G. & Winch, G.
    (1995) The English language: users guide. Albert Park, Victoria: Phoenix Education.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Collins, P.
    (1979) Elicitation experiments on acceptability in Australian English. Working Papers (Macquarie University Speech and Language Research Centre), 2 (4), 1–49.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. (1989) Divided and debatable usage in Australian English. In P. Collins & D. Blair (Eds) Australian English: the language of a new society. St. Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Crystal, D.
    (1984) Who cares about English usage. London: Penguin Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Curme, G. O.
    (1931) Syntax. Boston: D. C. Heath.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Down, E.
    (1991) Mastering grammar. Melbourne, Longman Cheshire.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Eagleson, R.
    (1972) Aspects of Australian English usage. AULLA (Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association) Proceedings, 14, 204–216.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. (1976) Anyone for his. Working Papers in Language and Linguistics, 4, 31–45.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Evans, B. & Evans, C.
    (1957) A dictionary of contemporary American usage. New York: Random House.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Fowler, H. W. & Fowler, F.G.
    (1931) The King’s English (1st ed., 1906). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Fox, M. & Wilkinson, L.
    (1993) English essentials. South Melbourne: Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Howard, P.
    (1989) Perfect your grammar. Melbourne: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Hughes, B.
    (1993) The Penguin working words: an Australian guide to modern English usage. Ringwood, Victoria: Viking.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Macquarie Dictionary
    Macquarie Dictionary (1997) (1st ed., 1981; 2nd ed., 1991). NSW: The Macquarie Library.
  16. Metcalfe, J. E.
    (1975) The right way to improve your English. Kingswood: Elliot Right Way Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Mittins, W. H. , Salu, M. , Edminson, M. & Coyne, S.
    (1970) Attitudes to English usage. London: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Murray-Smith, S.
    (1990) Right words: a guide to English usage in Australia. Ringwood, Victoria: Penguin Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Partridge, E.
    (1965) Usage and abusage. London: Hamish Hamilton.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Peters, P.
    (1995a) Australian Style: a National Bulled, 3 (2), 4.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. (1995b) The Cambridge Australian English style guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. (1996) In search of Australian style. English Today, 45, 3–10. doi: 10.1017/S0266078400008701
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078400008701 [Google Scholar]
  23. (2000) Corpus evidence on Australian style and usage. In D. Blair & P. Collins (Eds) English in Australia. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Quirk, R. , Greenbaum, S. , Leech, G. & Svartvik, J.
    (1985) A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London,: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Treble, H. A. & Vallins, G.H.
    (1936) An ABC of English usage. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Walshe, R. D.
    (1972) Guide to usage and style. In G. W. Turner (Ed) Good Australian English and good New Zealand English. Sydney: Reed Education.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Watson, K.
    (1978) Teachers’ attitudes to usage. Applied Linguistics Association of Australia Occasional Papers (2), 32–40.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage
    Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage (1989) Merriam: Webster.
  29. Wheeler, P. M.
    (1991) Mastery of English for senior students. Melbourne: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error