Grammar myths


Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper looks at the continued survival of ‘myths’ about English grammar, for example, the statement that in negative and interrogative sentences any should be used instead of some. It is based on a survey of 195 Hong Kong students majoring in English, in five different cohorts, which found that such myths are quite prevalent; with choices of ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘don't know’ and ‘partly true’, the true option was chosen in over 50% of cases. Differences between subjects are identified and discussed, as well as changes across time from the first to the last cohort. Then the individual myths are discussed and explained one by one. A number of possible sources for the myths are suggested, and the means of combatting them are discussed, along with the reasons for their resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-37
Number of pages23
JournalLanguage Awareness
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

A preliminary version of this paper, based on limited data, was presented at the 15th World Congress of AILA, Essen, Germany, August 2008.


  • explicit knowledge
  • grammar
  • misconceptions
  • myths
  • rules


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