July, 2011

Americanisms: irritating invaders of UK English or welcome visitors?

I enjoyed Matthew Engel’s article, ‘Why do some Americanisms irritate people?’ which ran yesterday on the BBC News website’s News Magazine.

Engel says, that while we accept some words from across The Pond, others are more irritating. For instance we use words such as lengthy, reliable, talented, influential, and tremendous without a second thought but they are all US imports.

As he says, “American usages no longer swim to our shores as single spies, as “reliable” and “talented” did. They come in battalions.” And it’s true that some really do grate on British ears!

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What’s the connection between beekeeping and a literary figure? It’s elementary!

I’m working on a project at the moment that makes me feel very lucky to be doing what I do to earn my crust. I’m editing a book on beekeeping for novices by a talented photographer, David Wootton. And it reminded me about something my beekeeping friend, Jules, told me about a connection with Sherlock Holmes.

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A lesson in clear, succinct copy… from an estate agent

I’m sure I’m not the only one to be inundated with leaflets from local estate agents clamouring to sell my house. And I’m sure I’m not alone in consigning the majority of them to the bin without reading beyond the headline. Especially the one with the headline that read ‘Recent Let’s Agreed’. Sadly, I kid you not.

Anyway, one day last week a leaflet dropped through the letterbox that really broke the mould. It was from the Surbiton office of Hawes & Co and it grabbed my attention immediately.

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Wimbledon tennis commentators serve faulty phrase

So Wimbledon is over for another year and I’m trying to adjust to tennis-free days. One thing I won’t miss though is that horrible phrase ‘the business end’ that too many of the match commentators used too often.

I got tired of hearing, ‘well, we’re at the business end of the set now.’ Ugh. Not only is it plain ugly, but like all phrases that become over-used, it jars. You have to be very careful, in writing as well as in speech, about becoming reliant on certain distinctive words, phrases, and devices.

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. And speaking of useful - scroll down and take a look at the Oxford Dictionaries tool.

Click here to find out a bit more about me.

Word Alchemy Blog