The illiterate and unimaginative media continue to perpetrate their assault on the language, undeterred by my periodic rants. And why shouldn’t they – they get paid good money for what they do, and I don’t. All my pet hates survive and prosper, despite my efforts but - a voice crying in the wilderness - I persist and here are some of my perennials -
enormity refers to the awfulness, the wickedness of an event, not its size.
ironical does not mean coincidental.
medieval has four syllables, not three – it’s meddy-eeval, not med-evil.
The last four letters of undoubtedly are edly, not ably – it is pronounced undowteddly, not undowtabbly.
mischievous is pronounced misscheevuss, not Miss Cheevyuss.
suspect is a noun, and adjective and a verb. When used as a noun or an adjective – e.g. arrest the suspect, or the suspect package - the stress is on the first syllable: as an adjective or a verb – e.g. I suspect John Doe - the stress is on the second syllable.
refute means disprove by evidence, not reject. I reject your statement and I will refute it by the following facts.
fulsome means cloying, excessive, fawning, Describing a tribute, statement or speech as fulsome is an insult, not a term of approbation – it is a pejorative term. (The misuse of this word is a source of constant amusement to me, especially when it comes from Tory MPs toadying to their leaders. Many Tory MPs described Liam Fox’s statements as fulsome – they were spot on, but hadn’t meant to be …)
News presenters have now adopted a style consisting of clichés strung together like beads on a wire, in the manner of sports presenters since time immemorial. One example, which I have complained of recently is the may be --- but formulation that now opens almost every analysis of political situations, with the occasional addition of the may be --- yet variation to add a spurious air of spontaneity to the tedium.
I say – the English language is infinitely varied, expressive and economical when necessary, but – or yet – you use it lazily and inaccurately.
Of course, a media presenter would have said - the English language may be infinitely varied, etc. – but …
Bollocks. There’s no may be about it – it is infinitely varied, etc. The but and the yet, magnificent and precise wee words, are entirely sufficient on their ain. So there …