Rules that are there to be broken

01 September 2014 0
Rules that are there to be broken
I enjoyed this very sensible piece by Steven Pinker for the Guardian, on grammar rules that it’s OK to break – sometimes. Pinker says of grammar rules: Supposedly a writer has to choose between two radically different approaches to these rules. Prescriptivists prescribe how language ought to be used. They uphold standards of excellence and a respect ...

Another reason to love Wikipedia

27 January 2013 0
Another reason to love Wikipedia
As if there weren’t already enough reasons to love Wikipedia, I think their fundraising email sent out in the run up to Christmas is brilliant. Clear, simple, informal, and not afraid to say bluntly what Wikipedia is and isn’t. “Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here.” “We don’t think having your email address ...

Even better than horsemeat

27 January 2013 0
Even better than horsemeat
So Tesco burgers have horsemeat in them. Not great news, but the supermarket has apologised and assured customers that: “We will work harder than ever with all our suppliers to make sure this never happens again.” Harder than ever, you say? This is an example of a tic I see cropping up increasingly in corporatespeak: ...

Before and after

29 January 2012 0
Before and after
In a hilarious mixup, I recently received the ‘before’ and ‘after’ versions of a heavily Photoshopped corporate photograph. I’m not going to share the pictures with you as that would be unfair to the person concerned – you’ll have to take my word for it that the difference was pretty stunning. It was also quite ...

Executive blow-dry

03 November 2011 0
What’s an executive blow-dry? I genuinely don’t know. But they’re available at the Canary Wharf shopping centre for £20. Does it mean a blow-dry for people who make decisions?  A blow-dry for people who earn more than a certain amount? A blow-dry for the president?

Contact us! Actually, don’t

28 October 2011 0
In our world of instant communication and supposed consumer empowerment, it continues to baffle me how some companies get away with being impossible to contact. The worst offenders tend to be companies like Facebook and Google who provide online services for free – making it a bit difficult to complain anyway. But it also extends ...

Good or bad week for the press?

09 July 2011 0
Following the extraordinary developments in the phone-hacking scandal this week, I’ve had the feeling of reading one of those choose-your-own-adventure books that I used to love as a kid, where every page presents you with a choice, and every choice sends the story in a weird new direction. After David Cameron’s press conference on Friday ...

Storm in a teacup

06 July 2011 0
Gosh, this News of the World phone hacking scandal is a bit of a shocker, isn’t it? Still, it could be worse. I mean, it’s just pampered celebrities, isn’t it? It’s not like they hacked the voicemails of anyone important. It’s not as if they targeted victims of terrorism or murder. I mean, it’s not ...

Community matters

29 June 2011 0
Today the research company BritainThinks published the results of a study of the working class. It’s the follow-up to another piece of research they did, revealing that nearly three quarters of us now see ourselves as middle class (lower middle, middle or upper middle), and arguing that this self-definition has become as important as the ...

At [x] we [y]

26 June 2011 0
Tom Ewing, who blogs about music and market research and miscellaneous wisdom, twote the other day: Pet hate of the day: the phraselet “That’s why at [company], we’ve…” in business blog posts. RIP interest. I concur. Just when the blogger seems to be making an interesting point, it turns out to be an excuse to ...