But let’s put it simply. Without the rule of law the UK would be hell. It would be the world of the Wire. It would be downtown Sao Paulo. It would be Burma, Russia or China. It would be Bangladesh. It would be South Africa, Mexico, almost every other country apart from a select few. If there is one thing that marks out the UK from all other countries it is the rule of law. The rule of law is the price we pay for peace.

The Chinese student (was his name Bo?) told the professor what the problem was. Greenbaum looked down. He studied the page. Then he looked up and said to to the Chinese student.

‘Thank you very much. You are right. I will send a note to the publisher to make the change in the next edition.’

And there we have it. One of the greatest authorities working in English Grammer, with the book that won him the OM, conceding to a non-native speaker that he had made a mistake and thanking him for pointing it out.