27 FEBRUARY 1948, Page 18


Sta,—I am glad Janus has struck hard—and right (the best clocks also strike right)—for using as adverbs words which are normally described as adjectives. This, I venture to suggest to him, is a better way of putting it than that a given word " is an adverb as well as an adjective," for every word can be every part of speech, or nearly so. There is just now a great wave of timid pedantry, making (as pedantry always does) for spinelessness and woolliness in writing. "The investigator," we so often read, "will go directly to the scene of the crime," when it is intended that he shall go direct. Rarely does that Homer of oratory, Winston Churchill, nod, but on one occasion he was guilty of this same ambiguity with the words, different in meaning, " direct" and " directly." It is to be said in his behalf that it was at or towards the end of his hard-fought (not his hardly-fought) war.—

Yours faithfully, , . GEORGE A. RIDING. Aldenham School, Elstree, Herds.