Archive | March, 2012

Trying to add tags

31 Mar

Mmm, wonder if I’ve managed to do that!

Today’s picture

The garden is full of flowers – not that I know what any of them are called, other than the obvious ones. Here’s a picture I took in summer 2010, and I do know this is a poppy – and a bee.Image

 

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me/myself; you/yourself

30 Mar

me/myself; you/yourself.

me/myself; you/yourself

30 Mar

When I order prints, etc, from iPhoto I have to check a box that says “Send to myself” – no people, that should be “Send to me”. Substituting “myself” for “me” and “yourself” for “you” is increasingly common – and increasingly irritating. “Myself” and “yourself” are reflexive pronouns – they refer back to to the subject of the sentence: I [subject] bought myself a drink; you [subject] bought yourself a drink; it is incorrect to say “send to myself” or “I look forward to hearing from yourself”!

Today’s picture

Shot on the Great Ocean Road, Australia – the Australians seem to have adopted the American habit of stating the blindingly obvious!Image

Profiting from education, but not in a good way

26 Mar

Profiting from education, but not in a good way.

Profiting from education, but not in a good way

26 Mar

It was reported today that Peter Birkett, Chief Executive of The Barnfield Federation, “argued that running a school as a business created a strong incentive to raise standards and attract more pupils”. He said, “I think there’ll be opportunities to review existing terms and conditions and say, are they fit for purpose, for the 21st century?…Is the time now right to make changes that will deliver improved outcomes in a more efficient way?”

I think running schools for profit is a terrible idea – particularly if Peter Birkett believes that his standard of English is what pupils should be aiming for.

 

Today’s picture, to get your feet tapping – shot in Long Beach, California, 1980Image

Nouns and verbs

23 Mar

One of the (many) things that irritates me is nouns used as verbs. In The Daily Telegraph this morning (and you may ask what on earth I was doing reading the Telegraph – the answer is that I was in a consultant’s waiting room and there was nothing else), there was a piece about postal deliveries: “TNT Post…is to trial delivering on the streets of West London…”. “Trial” is a noun, chaps, there is no verb “to trial”. The journalist could have written “TNT Post…is going to run/conduct a trial…”, or something similar. Also, although “impact” is a transitive verb as well as a noun, I hate that, too, used as a verb: “The cuts will impact poor families the most”, for example. “The cuts will affect poor…” or “will have the biggest impact on…” sounds, and reads, so much better.

Today’s picture

Do you often wonder why it seems to be beyond the wit of foreign manufacturers to find an English-speaking person to write English-language instructions? As you will see from the picture, it doesn’t stop there. This sign was at the Three Gorges Dam, China.Image

Today’s gobbledygook

20 Mar

This is an extract from a piece that was clearly written straight from a press release (as they often are).  It’s worrying that information coming from universities was written in such gobbledygook:

“Warwick University and Queen Mary, University of London, are to ‘share teams that work on increasing the diversity of their student populations, and will work together on their outreach activities in schools’.”

What does “diversity” mean in this context? Why “student populations” and not “students”? And why “outreach activities” and not simply activities? 

Today’s picture

Yesterday morning was so lovely that I decided to go for a (long) walk and photograph some pieces of lettering that I have kept vowing to photograph before someone comes and takes them down, paints over them or knocks the building down.

Image

This shop, off Chapel Street market in Islington, is now a junk shop but, like the market, is closed on Mondays. Among other things, it sells a bizarre collection of clothes, including motheaten fur coats, which may be why the owner has taken the trouble to preserve the Costumier and Furrier signs!

“Just My Type”

18 Mar

“Just My Type”.

“Just My Type”

18 Mar

I have recently finished reading Just My Type by Simon Garfield. It’s interesting – not just for type geeks – and an easy read. My favourite chapter is about ampersands (&). I learnt three (to some people) useless pieces of information in one short paragraph:

1  the ampersand is actually two letters combined – the e and the t of the Latin ‘et’;

2  the word ampersand is a conflation of ‘et, per se and’, it is the result of scribes working fast; and

3  the ampersand’s first use is usually credited to a shorthand writing method proposed by Marcus Tiro  

    in 63 BC.

Today’s rant: “not fit for purpose”.

Have you noticed how often this horrible phrase is trotted out? Why use four words when one – suitable, or appropriate – would usually do and would, indeed, be more suitable or appropriate?

Today’s picture

Nothing much has been done, or built, in Havana, Cuba, in the past 50 years (since the Russians went home). As a result, some beautiful bits of lettering have, just about, survived.Image

 

Today’s bit of mangled English

15 Mar

In a report about the truck exploding at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan: “Another Pentagon spokesman, George Little, told the [Washington] Post: ‘Security personnel responded, and for reasons totally unknown to us at this time, our personnel discovered that he was ablaze’.” What that actually says is that they don’t know why the “personnel discovered he was ablaze”, not that they didn’t know why the man was on fire.

Another picture: a bit unfair because the sign was made by people whose first language is not English, but it’s funny just the same.Image