Queen's English Society

Queen's English Society

The Queen's English Society was founded in 1972 by Joe Clifton, an Oxford graduate and schoolteacher.


A letter Mr. Clifton had sent to his local newspaper (the West Sussex Gazette) deploring the current decline in standards of English had resulted in so many sympathetic letters from readers that he was encouraged to form a group to try to do something about the problem.

Meetings of the newly formed Society were held in Arundel, and members would write to newspapers, and anyone else responsible for producing printed material, pointing out errors or examples of the misuse of English. Concern was also expressed about mispronunciation by broadcasters, and instances of their poorly spoken English were highlighted in the hope that, thereby, they should not be repeated.

The Society is very concerned about the education of children. It believes that educational standards depend significantly on how well teachers were taught to care about their English. As a result of this belief the Society delivered in 1988 a petition to the then Secretary of State for Education and Science, Kenneth Baker, urging him "to introduce the compulsory study of formal grammar, including parsing and sentence analysis, into the school curriculum". This petition attracted widespread support.


The objects of the Society, as expressed in its constitution, "are to promote the maintenance, knowledge, understanding, development and appreciation of the English language as used both colloquially and in literature; to educate the public in its correct and elegant usage; and to discourage the intrusion of anything detrimental to clarity or euphony”. There are no formal qualifications for membership beyond sympathy with the Society's aims and a willingness to pay the annual subscription. Contrary to popular belief, members are not required to be experts on the niceties of good English, and are certainly not required to drop their accent in favour of Received Pronunciation.


The Society’s quarterly journal, "Quest", has been sent to members since 1979. It includes articles and letters from members and details of current activities, as well as book reviews, puzzles and poems. A recurring theme throughout Quest has been the serious attempt to assess the changes that are now taking place within the language almost on a daily basis. The Society believes that a commitment to standards should not preclude the possibility of grammatical change; nor does it mean, however, that change should be mindlessly celebrated for its own sake.

ee also

*Received Pronunciation

External links

* [http://www.queens-english-society.com Queen's English Society homepage]

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