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Gove issues grammatical guidelines

Published 21/06/2015

Michael Gove has set out a number of grammatical preferences for his staff at the Ministry of Justice to be aware of
Michael Gove has set out a number of grammatical preferences for his staff at the Ministry of Justice to be aware of

Michael Gove has issued civil servants at the Ministry of Justice with a detailed set of grammatical guidelines for preparing his letters and briefing papers.

Instructions posted on the department's intranet tells officials to write "make sure" instead of "ensure" and avoid using the word "impact" as a verb.

The Lord Chancellor also bans contractions such as "doesn't", and disapproves of sentences that begin with "yet" or "however", according to the Independent on Sunday.

The guidelines, entitled Ministerial Correspondence Preferences, seem to be an expansion of an email entitled "10 golden rules" that Mr Gove circulated to staff when education secretary.

The latest document advises that "the phrases best-placed and high-quality are joined with a dash, very few others are".

It rails against "unnecessary" capitalisations and repetition, and says letters should be "gracious" and not "pompous".

However, critics have pointed out that Mr Gove has not always obeyed his own rules. A number of articles from his former career as a journalist for The Times include sentences that begin with "however".

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