Concern for the German language will always attract large audiences. Whoever claims that language is going to the dogs can be sure of the approbation of those who see themselves as linguistically superior. However, the status of grammatical rules is seldom questioned. It is in fact by no means clear what can be seen as correct German. How is ‘German’ to be understood? Who determines what should be regarded as correct? The 44th Annual Conference of the Institut für Deutsche Sprache [German Language Research Institute] endeavoured to help clarify questions such as these, and took as its topic German grammar in the tension between rules, standards and language usage.