On the vandalisation of the English language

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From: RM Hall, Moortown, Leeds.

As one who was educated in a grammar school and given a sound grounding in the English language, I find it very annoying to read, and listen to, contributions by journalists and broadcasters misusing the past tense of the verbs “stand” and “sit”.

People who should know better keep saying “I was sat” and “I was stood”, presumably they mean “sitting” and “standing”. As far as I know, no other verb is abused in this manner. I’m sure when a footballer says “I was kicked” he does not mean “I was kicking”.

I am prompted to raise this issue having read a too common misuse of the verb “under-estimate”. In an otherwise excellent article by Jayne Dowle (Yorkshire Post, September 10) she says, and I quote, “the long-term implications of bolting on a conservatory cannot be under-estimated”. I think she means “cannot be over-estimated” or “should not be under-estimated”. The verb “over-estimate” is also often wrongly qualified.

From: Maxwell Laurie, Victoria Terrace, Cockfield, County Durham.

Your correspondent Thomas Valentine (Yorkshire Post, September 19) apparently does not regret his defective education in the use of the apostrophe during the 1960s.

He omits to use an essential apostrophe in his letter, in consequence of which we do not know whether he was teaching in the ’70s or is still teaching in his 70s. The horrendous errors of his youth are perhaps an effort to keep up with modern vandalisation of the English language.

I am sure such vandalisation will not be 2 hard 4 him.