Monday, 8 September 2014


Sunset, this time last year

I wake in the night with a poem in my head - and a migraine.

This morning I still have the migraine - but the poem is gone.

Why can't it be the other way round?

Thursday, 4 September 2014

She literally exploded

I’m supposed to be cleaning out my Mini which I’m selling after 22 years – it’s no longer worth patching it up and I don’t feel safe driving it on motorways. As a little light relief however (for me and, I hope, you) I thought I might do a post on infuriating words and phrases.

Having been an editor and proofreader for some twenty years, I’ve always had an annoying (to others) habit of editing and proofreading everything I see and hear – graffiti, packaging, radio and television, magazines, books – you name it. This involves not just grammar and spelling but also phraseology, clichĂ©s and the correct use of words.

One of the less comfortable aspects of living in close proximity to someone else is the way they take on your behaviour traits, bad as well as good, and unfortunately Frog is now just as prone to the above annoying habit as me – if not worse (but he wouldn’t agree there). Particularly since I gave him for Christmas a few years ago She Literally Exploded: The Daily Telegraph Infuriating Phrasebook which he has read from cover to cover many times.

As an example, here is the book’s entry for ‘literally’:

Distinguishes the literal from the figurative meanings of a phrase, but is now used at random as an intensifier or a synonym for ‘really’, by those with tin ears.

Charming, no?

Here are some of the words and phrases currently infuriating Frog and me (and which neither of us dares point out to the other for fear of a diatribe).

Iconic Used for everything, with no thought to its original meaning

Issue A mealy-mouthed way of saying ‘problem’

Source (as a verb) Buy? Find?

Locally sourced Do you mean ‘bought in the corner shop’ or do you mean ‘locally produced’ or even simply ‘local’?

Gift (as a verb) What on earth is wrong with good old-fashioned ‘give’?

Chanteuse Singer?

Brutally murdered Isn’t all murder brutal? Might it be better to be specific eg ‘shot’, ‘strangled’?

Changed forever Change is change. If you’re looking for emphasis, use a stronger word eg ‘transformed’, ‘revolutionised’.

Sorry about all that. It's very naughty of me and I know my own writing is far from perfect and we're probably just a couple of old fogeys, but I do feel better having got it off my chest. Feel free to add some of your own bĂȘtes noires.