Archive | July, 2013

“Health and safety”

24 Jul

“Health and safety”.

Pickles in a pickle

17 Jul

Pickles in a pickle.

Bored with “bored of”

10 Jul

Bored with “bored of”.

Bored with “bored of”

10 Jul

A double-page ad (for Volvo) in today’s newspaper asks, “Bored of German techno?” Actually no, I’m not, but I am exceedingly bored with “bored of”. You can be “tired of” something, but you can’t be “bored of” it, only bored with it.

How do we expect children to learn decent grammar when they’re bombarded with illiterate advertising headlines?

While I’m at it, I’ll include “should of”. This, of course, comes from mishearing “should’ve” (should have) – more understandable than “bored of”, but equally grating.

Today’s picture

I’ve recently discovered the Culpeper Community Garden in Islington, London. This was taken on a rather dull day – before the sun decided to come out in England – but it’s still possible to see how beautiful it is.

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Was and were

1 Jul

Was and were.

Was and were

1 Jul

I continue to be amazed by the basic grammatical errors made by people who are reputed to be well educated. One of the most recent to make me cross was Sir Philip Hampton, Chairman of RBS – who graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford, with an MA in English, subsequently qualified as a chartered accountant and has an MBA from INSEAD.

On 16 June, The Observer reported: “Sir Philip Hampton…admits that [Stephen] Hester would still be in the top job [at RBS] if the plans for privatisation were not on the table. ‘If the privatisation wasn’t there, we’d be rolling on, probably looking for Stephen to have a successor (later) in 2014’.” No, Sir Philip, as The Observer’s reporter wrote, that should be “if the privatisation were not there…”. “If” should always be followed by “were”. Why?

The use of “if” indicates an hypothesis – something that, according to The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage, is “imagined, wished, demanded, proposed, exhorted, etc. Its main contrast is with the indicative mood. It is plainly recognizable in modern English…principally in the third person singular present tense…and in the use in various circumstances of be and were instead of the indicative forms am/is/are and was.”

Today’s picture

I visited my sister in the beautiful medieval town of Ludlow last weekend (the only problem was that the wi-fi and mobile reception at The Feathers hotel were also medieval). The weather was pretty awful too, but on Monday we went for a walk around the perimeter of the 11th-century castle where I photographed this beautiful beech tree. (I’ve promised to go back to see it in its autumn colours.)

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