Friday, September 30, 2016

Is the Queen's English really the Queen's English?

I was reading the newspaper last night when one sentence caught my attention:
If you want to read the entire article, it's the 29 September 2016 news report by Channel News Asia

Whether you are annoyed by this sentence depends a lot on your age, education and upbringing. Henry Fowler gives many instances of such a usage from seemingly educated sources and slams it as 'illiterate'. Eric Partridge, without any discussion, dismisses it as unacceptable and says that such a construction 'rings false'. Frederick T. Wood in his then hugely popular Current English Usage simply calls it 'incorrect'.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Illiteracy in Singapore - the Land Transport Authority

Sunday, September 18, 2016

ABBA was wrong?

I sometimes snoop around to see what others are saying of me. I'm generally not bothered one wee bit about other people's opinion of me but sometimes, curiosity gets the better of me. But it's always just curiosity and never concern.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Breaking news: The Speak Good English Movement is finally disbanded.

No, I'm afraid we haven't got such luck. The Movement which I have dubbed the Illiterate Movement is still tenaciously clinging on to its position.

As I have said elsewhere on this blog, Singapore's Speak Good English Movement is incapable of writing a single correct sentence in English. That's an exaggeration of course. What I meant is they are not capable of writing two sentences in English without some serious error. But one thing is clear: all the English tips they have given so far are wrong. Every week I screen-save the English tips they post on their Facebook page for my future blog postings and I can do this without even having to read what I'm saving because I'm so certain that whatever it is they publish is sure to be erroneous.

And I'm right. The real breaking news is what they published on their Facebook page just two hours ago:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Unable Inability

Recently, my phone gave me some trouble and I sent a text to my wife and kids to tell them that I might be uncontactable. As I was texting to them, I decided to type 'incontactable' instead just to see their reaction. One of my kids immediately replied, 'You mean "uncontactable"?' That gave me the opportunity to launch into a full explanation which, because of its length, I did by email. You see, quite apart from the peculiarities of the 'in-' and 'un-' prefixes, the word 'uncontactable' itself is rich with interesting little nuggets of history.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Why the green great dragon can't exist

Just a few days ago, the tweet of Matthew Anderson, the editor of BBC Culture, went viral and now, everyone is talking about it. You can read it on BBC Trending. He posted an excerpt from Mark Forsyth's book which I read last year and it's a book which I enjoyed tremendously. I do not like to filch photos from the internet and so I've taken my own photo (from my own book) of the same excerpt posted on that tweet: