a healthy reaction from a heavy-handed mode


Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
Educational fashion of the twentieth century has often seemed to encourage 'free expression' at the expense of correctness or elegance of composition: even to have a somewhat contemptuous disregard for traditional conventions. This has been excused as a healthy reaction from a heavy-handed mode of teaching which is alleged to have insisted on correctness of expression in relative disregard of content. [...] Since correctness was sometimes taught rather mechanically as though all that counted was the inflexible application of some crude rules of thumb, a reaction was to be expected and indeed welcomed.
(Guide to English Usage; Longman; Introduction by Randolph Quirk)

Would you be so kind as to tell me what exactly 'from' is supposed to mean here?

Can it be substituted with 'against' by any chance?

Last edited:
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    a healthy reaction from a heavy-handed mode of teaching
    The meaning is (a) that teaching used to be heavy-handed and pedantic; and that (b) there was a well-motivated move away from that approach towards 'free expression'.
    Teachers moved from one mode to the other.

    'Against' could suggest the existence of opposed schools of thought. Quirk apparently wants to avoid making that implication and to let the move be seen more as a consensual change.
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