IT was gratifying to read the letter from David Stubley and realise that I am not the only reader falling foul of the word wheel's recent foray into obscurity with examples other than last week's "lucubrate" being "champerty" and "heteronym" – none of which features in my (admittedly "pocket" edition) Oxford Dictionary. The solution may be to apply some more lucubration to the affected parts?

Iain Matheson,

38 Stonelaw Drive,

Rutherglen, Glasgow.

ROBERT Wilson’s pride in his pedantry (Letters, April 14) is misplaced.

Having been Convener of Debates at Glasgow University Union in the early 1970s when Andrew Neil was one of our elite debaters, I can assure your readers that, firstly, he is exceedingly well educated, although to my knowledge he has never boasted of that excepting evincing pride in his old schools, and, secondly, his use of language is as good now as it was then.

When HE said “one in five leave school” he was perfectly correct as he was referring to, and this is obvious in the context, not some abstract individual (a singularity) but a varying multitude of individuals (a plurality) defined as 20 per cent of the total number of pupils leaving school in any particular year. Thus: Jimmy leaves school. Thousands of Jimmies leave school.

Sixteen years ago (circa January 17, 2002) your occasional correspondent, Professor Joe Farrell, then head of the Italian department at Strathclyde University and a contemporary of Andrew Neil’s in Men’s Union debating, bemoaned the dreadful state of teaching of English grammar in our schools which was leaving many of his then undergraduates unable to master modern languages because they did not have a proper grasp of English.

Hugh McLoughlin,

24 Russell Street, Mossend, Bellshill.