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Archive for the ‘Unnecessary Words’ Category

This is one I used to struggle with regularly in my day-to-day work, until I got used to it.

Someone pled guilty or pleaded guilty?

The rule for us in journalism is pleaded. The lawyers like pled.

I imagine this goes back to the good ole English court terminology somewhere in history.

In any case … I like pled.  It sounds more natural.

You don’t say you “saided” something.

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“I’ve just had a right good shit,” a friend who is known for giving unnecessary information said.

So, a good shit was not enough, it was a right good shit. Does that mean a good shit which is correct?  Can a good shit be incorrect for that matter.

“I’m right pleased with my new job.” – Can we be left pleased, or wrong pleased?

“He’s a right bastard, he is” – I’m sorry, but bastards are anything but right; they are most definitely always wrong.  And when we’re discussing bastards here, we’re not talking about illegitimate folks (who are merely unfortunate…unless they happen to be a badass as well), just unpleasant ones, as the new definition dictates.

Anyway, I’m right done with this usage of right.

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When we talk about writing letters, us Brits have a certain…overly long way about asking people to send us mail:

“Send a letter to me.”

“Write me a letter.”

Whereas some other nations are somewhat more economic with words:

“Write me.”

Call me old fashioned but I like the long-winded approach:

“Go forth and reproduce” is sometimes a better way of saying “Fuck off.”

But then, this is where I get incongruent…because it can be just as good to say “Go forth” and leave it at that…well, you could add the middle finger in just for good measure. After all, body language is just as important.

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Like it matters…

The MADE IN ENGLAND part, that is.

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The people of North America (possibly South America and Canada as well, I’m not sure) have it figured out. They use what I’d call imperial measurements: good old pounds and ounces.

Here in Britain, it’s a different matter. There’s some confusion as to what we use.

Here’s a packet of out of date bacon I found festering at the back of the fridge:

bacon

There are 385 grams of bacon in here. But I asked for a pound of bacon. The lady behind the counter isn’t supposed to weigh in pounds, but she does her best to weigh it as close to 500kg as she can, which is as near enough to a pound as she can get with the way the bacon is cut. Actually, I got 0.85 pounds of bacon. Still, I’m not fussy when it comes to food.

Shops here aren’t allowed by the law to sell in pounds and ounces any longer, thanks to the the EEC (European Economic Community)

But a lot still do, and they can get fined pretty heavily for it.

Soon we’ll lose our precious pint and have to buy half a litre of beer instead, which is a con. A pint being 0.585 litre, we’ll lose 85 millilitres yet the price will stay the same which is actually increasing it, if you know what I mean.

So, stick to your pounds and ounces if that’s what you use. It’s much easier and probably why we still weigh in imperial when we shouldn’t.

But just one thing: what does this have to do with economy of words?

“My cousin weighs two hundred and eighty pounds.”

“My cousin weighs twenty stones.”

See how better the second quote reads. And the unit of stone works with pounds (lbs) There are four syllables less in that second sentence.

Of course, you could just say, “My cousin weighs two-eighty.” But that confuses us Brits.

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In today’s modern world, there is a tendency to feel as if the most sensible and basic words don’t measure up.

Everything must be … “officialized.”

Utilize.

Prioritize.

Desensitize.

If you read the classics, how many of these officalized words do you ever come across?

This is used (not utilized) by those who work in cubicles who are afraid that if they try to describe their very official daily tasks without using the “-ize” suffix, they will be seen as not official enough.

Let’s use.

Let’s set priorities. Or use our time wisely.

Let’s be sensitive to not homogenizing our language.

Wait … I did it.

Crap.

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