Codification of correctness: normative sources for Joseph Priestley’s grammar1

Robin Straaijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this paper, I will discuss possible sources for Priestley’s norm of correctness in his grammar book, The Rudiments of English Grammar, from a socio-historical perspective. I will show that Priestley’s norms of correctness were informed by the usage of the well-educated middle class, the language of science, Robert Lowth’s grammar and the discourse community of eighteenth-century grammarians, and a contemporary canon of good and bad usage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalLanguage and History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • eighteenth century
  • English
  • historical sociolinguistics
  • Joseph Priestley
  • normative grammar


Dive into the research topics of 'Codification of correctness: normative sources for Joseph Priestley’s grammar1'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this