Monday morning is always Monday morning. To complete the scenario there has to be a ‘sign’ to confirm this. To fulfil this role, my Perfect Pencil – a modestly titled writing product from Faber Castell – leaped unaided from the bookcase performing a perfect dive into mug of, now cold, coffee which my considerate wife had brought me an hour earlier. Hmm.
Overheard in the pub: ‘Modern chainsaws are so safe they’d only cut half way through your arm before they cut out!’
My questions is this: what sort of mentality is required to put the word ‘only’ in this statement?
OK- so to christen the new site, here’s a number of gripes I have with the misuse of language. If anybody dares say ‘yes but language is a living, breathing and evolving structure’ I fully accept and understand this much quoted phrase, however evolving is by definition a smooth and relatively slow process, whereas many ‘changes’ in usage come about through sheer ignorance of correct usage – personally I’d rather not have errors ensconced as a sign of verbal progress. The high horse having being well and truly exercised, here are a few examples
1 Using ‘should of been’ when it should have been ‘should have been’
2 Using ‘bartering’ when they mean ‘bargaining’ or ‘haggling’ : ‘bargaining’ is a process of reaching a price (or out come) which suits both parties. ‘Bartering’ which many people say they are good at, would mean convincing a sofa salesman that they should accept in exchange for the latest lounging luxury your old sofa, which only has a few springs showing, and lacks only one of the cushions, plus some random objects which you found in your attic. Obviously, this is entire hypothetical as sofas seem to always be at “Outrageously Good Sale Prices!”
3 Using the word ‘riffing’ in any context! The word refers to a series of notes; a musical phrase originally and usually applied to guitarists. I have NEVER heard a musician say ‘riffing’ – a riff is a thing. Somebody – and I am tempted to blame Will Self for this – has purloined the word and transmogrified it into a conjugatable verb to be used outside of a musical context
I riff, you rifff, he riffs . . . . No, I don’t, you don’t and he bloody doesn’t!
As an aside, I cannot resist blaming Self for many things (this is clearly not severe self-deprecation) and I did delight in his error of using the phrase – ‘having cardinal knowledge’ – unless he knows more than we do about the habits of the Catholic church.
Here endeth the first of many. . .