14 NOVEMBER 1970, Page 20

American English

Sir: I am accepting, belatedly because from so far away, the in- vitation implicit in Mr Claiborne's letter (10 October) to 'point up' (jnt out, surely?) his mistakes. One preposition wrong, two more omitted: 'a ceremony took place 1 October (for 'on 1 October') and 'I protest this inequality' (for 'pro- test against').

As for the verb 'to demean', around which the letter is con- trived. Fowler considered and many will agree that its use in the sense of to lower or debase (as here) 'is commonest on the lips of the un- educated or in imitations of them, and is best avoided except in such contexts'.

Mr Claiborne may be an Ameri- can. If so, these may not be mis- takes in his own language; but he was writing to an English periodi- cal. If I were writing to the Editor of Le Monde, I should eschew franglais.

P. L. Carter British Embassy, Karte Parwan, Kabul, Afghanistan