In news that will have people everywhere cringing with second hand embarrassment (and wondering if they should dig out their Key Stage 2 English books), a Government minister incorrectly answered a Sats grammar question, while arguing against concerns by parents that Sats tests for primary school children were too prescriptive and risked putting them off reading.
Schools minister Nick Gibb apparently failed to differentiate between a preposition and a subordinating conjunction while appearing on BBC Radio 4´s World At One. He was quizzed by presenter Martha Kearney on his own grammar skills.
"Let me give you this sentence: 'I went to the cinema after I'd eaten my dinner'," she said. "Is the word 'after' there being used as a subordinating conjunction or as a preposition?"
"It's a preposition," Gibb replied confidently, only for Ms Kearney to shoot back: "I don't think it is. In this sentence it is being used as a subordinating conjunction."
Gibb protested: "'After' is a preposition. It can be used in some contexts as a word that co-ordinates a sub-clause."
Nope, sorry Nick. People on Twitter were not impressed by Gibb's blunder.
Nick Gibb gave wrong answer to KS2 SATs question on BBC R4 WatO today. Says kids need this to get on in life. Hmm. How does he cope then?
-- Joy (@JoyMower) May 3, 2016
Nick Gibb's failure to label the subordinating conjunction proves the point - you can write/ read to a high level without such knowledge.
-- Pie Corbett (@PieCorbett) May 3, 2016
Gibb argued: "This isn't about me. This is about ensuring that future generations of children - unlike me incidentally, who was not taught grammar at primary school - we need to make sure that future generations are taught grammar properly."
Asked what conclusions could be drawn from Mr Gibb's blunder, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokeswoman said: "I think it reflected the fact that what we are about is equipping future generations with a better grasp of reading, writing and maths skills."