“Been there; done that”
Continuing my series of endorsements of my book, The Banned List, by academics and other famous people, here are some comments from some English professors and a journalist.
Professor Thomas Cable, co-author of The English Language and its History:
My own loathsome clichés are: ‘at the end of the day’, ‘the bottom line’, ‘Let’s not go there’, ‘Been there, done that’, ‘Well, duh’, and ‘Hello?’ with interrogative intonation.
David Cameron, he means you (that bit in your conference speech where you quoted Ed Balls saying Labour spent only what it had “available” and you said, “Hello?”). Typically, Professor Cable was back in touch the next day:
Two more from this morning’s papers: ‘wake-up call’ (Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman) and ‘reality check’.
Professor Stephen Regan, Durham University:
I have a few examples of words and phrases that I find deeply irritating. The tendency to qualify uniqueness is common, so politicians and newsreaders will often refer to events as ‘quite unique’ or ‘very unique’. We regularly hear that one thing ‘interfaces with’ another, when it simply ‘relates to’ that other thing.
He, too, was back for another go.
I really do hate hearing the awful, “And I was like, ‘I’m off to Starbuck’s now for a coffee’.
“And she was like, ‘Well, that’s really cool’.
“And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna sit there all day and waste my time’.”
Dr Simon J James, senior lecturer in Victorian literature, Durham University:
Sports commentary is especially prone to cliché and lazy usage. The unnecessary perfect tense -’he’s gone down the wing’, ‘he’s put the ball away’. Bizarre plurals ‘your Stephen Gerrards’, ‘your Frank Lampards’. Also lack of thought given to adjectives – custody battles are always ‘bitter’ – participants too are always ‘locked’ in them.
And his second thoughts?
Also, I hate nouns turned into adjectives in business jargon – can you progress/action/cascade/progress – worst of all. ’Once the paperwork is in, can we progress this further?’ Worse in the active than the passive, for some reason.
Meanwhile, Jemima Khan (above) says she is enjoying The Banned List “v much” but is a bit paranoid that she was sent a free copy. I told her it was because she is a proactive thought leader able to connect with a forward agenda. Not sure she thought that was funny.Tagged in: banned list
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