Wednesday 8 May 2019

A Few of my Favourite Things

Hi Guys! If you can tear yourself away from watching wall-to-wall news about baby Sussex (it’s a BOY!!) Isn’t it great that the Royals have managed to make babies? And they suffer from sleep deprivation, rather like us. 
Modern-day nannies and mannies! What are they like? They must be so up themselves these days that they can’t even be bothered to rouse themselves from their slumbers. 

Doesn’t four-year-old Princess Charlotte look like the Queen? The Duchess of Cambridge is so talented. Her photographs of her children are much more professional than the snaps and selfies that we ordinary people are always showing off. Hers are beautifully constructed, not even a tiny bit blurred, and their cute little heads are nearly always captured in full, and not cut off. 

(although she does sometimes cut off the feet)


Grammatical errors. What are they like? Who doesn’t make them?? I know I do. Commas are a particular worry (too many, and your prose resembles a teenager’s diary; too few will muffle the meaning.) 
Why is it so much easier to spot typos, mistakes and proof-reading misses after the horse has bolted?  I can be a bit of a pedant myself, though I’m not really as pompous as all that. How embarrassing it is when you're publicly hoisted by your own pedantry. 
The rule is that your own mistakes mostly happen when you’re pointing out the mistake(s) of others. 

Don’t you hate that certain double-negatives are so commonplace that they’ve morphed into legitimate substitutes for their opposite meaning, as in “I ain’t done nuffink”. It’s sooo annoying.
What about when two synonymous words are amalgamated to produce a meaningless portmanteau word. The likely intention is to add emphasis, but the actual effect is to cancel itself out.  For example, merging ‘regardless” and “irrespective” creates the non-word “irregardless”. What does that even mean?

Am I the only one who cares when people accidentally substitute  “underestimate” for ‘overestimate’? You want to stress how large (or small) something is, so you might say: it (Whatever it is) cannot be underestimated (or vice versa.) All too often it comes out the wrong way round, completely reversing the meaning. Listen out for this, please, because I don’t want to be the only one fretting about it and I want others to join me.

I inherited this bugbear, but it still bugs me when people miss out a whole syllable from the word ‘deteriorate’ and nonchalantly blurt out “deteri’ate” as if they’d just said something smart.


Last and probably least, is this the only household where people have favourite utensils? But not in a casual way. “I can’t eat with that fork!” “I don’t like that cup/bowl/plate/chair.” 
“You can’t use that cup!” comes a scream just as the coffee is about to be taken out to the builder and the contents of the revered cup are then decanted with a shaky hand (partly into a smaller mug and partly into the sugar bowl) and another devastating faux pas is averted.


  1. Monkey Brains8 May 2019 at 12:07

    You'll find irregardless in American English. It's in Webster's. Also used by Canadians, irregardless of what we think is correct! :)

    Poor, lazy enunciation is becoming endemic on the BBC. Sometimes, on the radio (when it's often more challenging to ascertain the context), I have real difficulty in identifying some words. Battle becomes "bah-oh", ordinary becomes "or-nay", people becomes "pay-poh", then becomes "den", the becomes "dah". This sort of pronunciation is starting to be heard among allegedly educated people.

    So you have "den-dah-ornay-paypoh-avva-bah-oh-ah-geh-demseh-un'stuh'". They certainly do in some cases! When you throw in another barrier to communication - meaningless emphasis - comprehension can be nigh on impossible.

    As for favourite utensils, most definitely. Mugs, spoons, glasses, plates and bowls - for every utensil a prefernce and often too a very limited range of purposes. The bowl that might be perfect for a stir-fry is not what I want my spag bol in... :) I've noticed as well that rationality is not key...

    1. Irregardless is kosher? I thought it was a Bushism type of word, like ‘misunderestimated.’

      We haven’t watched the BBC, but Kate Burley has spent the whole morning trying to extract new and interesting ways of speculating about baby Sussex’s name. We did catch a glimpse of the infant, thankfully cradled in the arms of his doting father while his mum staggered out and back in ludicrously high-heeled shoes. The Royals usually bestow several names upon their progeny. I rather like ‘Arthur’, and I hope he gets at least one hip-hop name.

    2. Monkey Brains8 May 2019 at 14:40

      The modern Webster guys mounts a stout defence of it being a real word...

      It's going to be a transgender name I predict...

      Probably Robin. Maybe Carol.Even Evelyn.

    3. Can you give a translation of that please, MB? I gave up halfway into something about having a bath. I think.

      I am almost a veteran of the pedantic wars and remember long detailed defences online of 'irregardless', which always seemed strange and indefensible to me. I've also had arguments about 'you cannot underestimate the importance of...', pointing out that that means it is of the lowest possible importance, when the writer's intention was to indicate that it was of the highest importance.
      Oh, the perils of pedantry. I know that I often make mistakes or am ignorant of some fine point of grammar or meaning. One of the perils - of making a howler while correcting someone else's - has a name, Stitt's Law, if I recall correctly from my war days. It's all about ten or fifteen years ago.

      I often wonder these days why people can't pronounce anything and when did all this 'a ant' and 'an school', and contriBUTE start. MPs and Ministers who went to Oxford cannot pronounce 'recognise'; there is no word 'reckonise', Foreign Secretary and others. I heard a BBC newsreader saying 'CereMOANY'; one on Sky the other day that a king had been 'coronated'. Another said 'when inflation raises' for 'rises'. And the same one came out with 'rheTORic'.

      I come out in a rash when they start talking about that WikiLeaks man in the embassy. Why? The affected AssAWNge pronunciation. I can't help but think of what Kenneth Williams could make of it but listen, numpties, it's not French so give it up.He's Australian and I've yet to hear an Australian going AsSAWnge. It's AsSANge, Angie. And don't get me started on prepositions. What happened to them all, apart from 'of'? 'I am embarrassed of my behaviour'. It serves for nearly every preposition.

      PS: I have a mug which has 'Hands Off' printed on it and mugs which only come out for builders. Favourite knives, forks and soup spoons abound.

    4. Monkey Brains9 May 2019 at 10:33

      "den-dah-ornay-paypoh-avva-bah-oh-ah-geh-demseh-un'stuh" = "Then the ordinary people have a battle to get themselves understood." !!This is actually how a lot of Reality TV characters (mainly from the south of course) speak, no exaggeration. It is influencing speech more generally.

  2. For those of us who are compelled to transcribe stuff from radio and TV, the struggle to make sense of sloppy diction cannot be underestimated, irregardless of the context - you could say it's a constant ba-oh.

  3. Awaiting eagerly Adrian and Jo's responses to Danny's quite public twitter faux pas.


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