THANKS to a throwaway comment in Parliament this week that Latin was once the backbone and mainstay of English grammar which has gone awry since the virtual eclipse of classics from the curriculum, I felt whimsically that I could marry two themes which have been prominent in the Letter Pages recently.

Taking pride of place as the most important topic has been Brexit where Theresa May has shown her incapacity for the position of PM.

What sprang to my mind, was the succinct Tacitean phrase, as every schoolboy was wont to know, which describes this benighted woman perfectly, "Capax imperii,nisi imperasset".

What has also on this Latin line tickled my fancy, has been the discussion of the minutiae of English grammar, the focus being upon the use of the gerund, your correspondents seeing in the inability to use the gerund properly a sign of the general collapse of proper English usage in the same way that policemen once said that minor infractions, if not caught early, would lead on to greater crimes.

So perhaps we are seeing the first shoots of a new educational spring where the fruits of Latin will once again shine forth and rescue us from the depths into which politics and language have sunk.

Denis Bruce,

5 Rannoch Gardens, Bishopbriggs.

I JOIN John MacLeod in regretting the desuetude of the gerund (Letters, April 6) but his suggested example, in addition to being rather clumsy – a gerund is correctly used for clarity rather than merely to impart an archaic Rees-Moggish flavour – is unnecessary.

“There you hear him giving his nine-minute talk……” is perfectly correct, since the listener indeed hears the speaker, even in inattentive of the content and indifferent to the manner of delivery (“his giving” of the talk).

The gerund certainly needs to be revived to avoid such commonly-heard solecisms as “Regarding you coming to visit me next week….” where the subject isn’t the intending visitor, but his coming to visit. The participle “coming” being gerundial (i.e. functioning as a noun) should be preceded by the genitive form of the pronoun.

This will seem to many to be quibbling over minutiae, but a true stickler stickles with scrupulous exactitude, heedless of any rolling of eyeballs or of their – not “them” – glazing over.

Robin Dow,

40 Mountpleasant Road, Rothesay, Isle of Bute.

MIGHT I suggest, with some hesitation, that Ian Boyes, John Macleod, and Thelma Edwards (Letters, April 1, 6 & 10) get together for an ante-jentacular discussion on the nescience associated with grammatical eccentricities and inaccuracies.[

Perhaps first up they could perhaps discuss the origins and the meaning of the phrase ignotum per ignotius.

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie.

MIGHT I thank Ian Boyes, Martin Archibald (Letters, April 11), and others who, over the last few weeks, have entertained and educated me on the finer points of grammar. I have only ever had an “instinctive” understanding of the subject, and I'm loving it.

John Jamieson,

60 Craigie Road, Ayr.