Author: admin

Spelling errors – ‘Nice suit, a pity about the stains’

Spelling errors? Big yawn. Who cares – as long as you get across the big message? I just came across a message sent to a LinkedIn group from someone anxious to publicise his new CD: “I’m proud to announce that

Posted in Editing, Language, Proofreading, Typos Tagged with: , ,

Word use – how to make a good word meaningless

How do you render a word meaningless? One good way is to use it repeatedly in such a way that it ends up meaning nothing. That is the current fate of the word ‘significant’, which has been so over-used that

Posted in Language, Words

World-class, state-of-the-art, best-practice bullshit

If Professor Michael O’Keeffe, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon in Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin, is as good a doctor as he is a man, then he’s one of the best. On 9 July, he was interviewed by Pat Kenny on RTE

Posted in Jargon, Language Tagged with: , ,

Manglishing the language

Back in 2006, it was reported that Malaysia planned to fine people who mangled the national language on posters and signs. Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Rais Yatim warned that billboards and posters showing “mutated” forms of Malay would lead

Posted in Language, Words Tagged with: , ,

Proofreading – Knight in dingy armour fights for the cause

It’s important to proofread your own writing, said British Schools Minister. He should know. His own blog was riddled with errors …

Posted in Editing, Language, Proofreading, Typos, Words Tagged with: , ,

Death by PowerPoint may mean what it says

“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” That’s what General Stanley McChrystal, leader of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, reportedly said when shown this PowerPoint slide in Kabul a year ago. If the slide, titled

Posted in Powerpoint Tagged with: ,

Bad writing can sometimes be bad-minded

The French and the Dutch voted down the EU constitution in 2005. A prominent American judge, Mark P Painter, in an interesting article titled ‘Did Bad Writing Doom the EU Constitution?’, suggested that one reason for this rejection was that

Posted in Language Tagged with: , ,

How churnalists make us solastalgic for the good old days

We’ve invented  a lot of ghastly new words and phrases in recent decades: ugly, bland, abstract, meaningless jargon. So it’s good to come across some colourful new words on Paul McFedries’s website Wordspy: churnalism Churnalism is what so-called journalists do

Posted in Language Tagged with: , , ,

Two kinds of language – and a dam letter event

An exchange of letters illustrates vividly two different ways in which we use language.

Posted in Language Tagged with: ,

‘PowerPoint makes us stupid’

Have you ever bored an audience stupid with a PowerPoint presentation? I think I may have done so once or twice – not because the presentation was especially awful, but because I packed in too much and went on too

Posted in Powerpoint Tagged with: