Descriptive versus prescriptive grammar I still haven’t recovered from the revelation that “grammatical mistake” isn’t a mistake. English grammar is basically pattern recognition. Once we recognize an established pattern in the language we attempt to maintain it. Prescriptive grammar (which attempts to dictate how people should speak) eventually derives from descriptive grammar (how people actually speak). Of course, “ain’t no denyin’,” that what some grammarians might take for egregious, fossilized errors, Everyman accepts as just “speakin’ plain.” Can a mistake be grammatical? It may be swimming against the current, spitting into the wind, and [insert your own cliche here] to challenge the evolution of the language and attempt to manipulate prescriptive grammar, but that’s what we pedants do. Inspired by the expression “grammatical mistake,” I have come to surmise that there is something rotten in the state of English grammar. Adjectives that end in "