The boys ain’t done so good: the use of adjectives as adverbs.

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…AND THE HEARTS BEAT STRONGER. I think they mean to say ‘and (the) Hearts [brilliant pun on the name of the club – ha, ha, ha!] beat more strongly’.

Groan. This football club – Heart of Midlothian, known popularly as ‘Hearts’ – has the effrontery not only to use an adjective as an adverb in their slogan, but to put it on a huge poster only a few hundred metres from where I live, thus forcing me to suffer the sight of it almost every day. ‘The boys certainly ain’t done so good!’ as they might comment, if they understood irony.

You’d think that football clubs could afford to pay someone to check their grammar, when they spend millions on players, many of whom earn over £10,000 per week. Give me a mere £500 a week and I’ll do the job! Surely hearts might beat more strongly if they were backed in a grammatically correct way – a positive inotropic effect?

Well, if you can’t beat them, perhaps you should join them. I was delighted to find this Football Gobbledygook Generator, which equips me to enter any of the local football bars and pass myself off as a diehard fan. Here’s what I think: ‘The pundits have written us off since day one but we worked the channels well and got our just desserts and it’s a game of two halves and there can only be one winner.’

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Every day someone confuses ‘everyday’ with ‘every day’.

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Everyday Britons? Humdrum, ordinary, nothing-special Britons? Grrr!

Everyday Britons? Humdrum, ordinary, nothing-special Britons? Grrr!  So how do the special ones pay?

Yes, I know that even some dictionaries conflate ‘everyday’ and ‘every day’ but I maintain they are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

‘Everyday’, with the emphasis on the first syllable, means ordinary, humdrum, workaday, etc. ‘Every day’, on the other hand, with the emphasised syllables being both ‘ev’ and ‘day’, describes something that happens on every day.

Why do I care about this distinction? Wel, apart from the fact that Visa, by confusing them, seems to be implying that some people are superior to others (a belief that could lead to nasty eugenics), it is yet another example of the loss of power in English. Other examples would be the loss of the subjunctive, the loss of the distinction between ‘will’ and ‘shall’ and the loss of the distinction between ‘uninterested’ and ‘disinterested’.

No, I won’t provide links for the last two.  Do your own research! It might start a healthy habit.

Visa: judged and condemned for crimes against the English language!

Visa: judged and condemned for crimes against the English language!

Bank of Scotland awards bonuses for eliminating hyphens?

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'Enjoy money back offers on your everyday shopping.' Without a hyphen this sentence is meaningless. Does leaving out a hyphen save money and boost corporate profits?

‘Enjoy money back offers on your everyday shopping.’ Without a hyphen this sentence is meaningless. Does leaving out a hyphen save money and boost corporate profits?

The Bank of Scotland has spent a fortune advertising its money-back offers…  Only, it hasn’t. It has used the meaningless phrase ‘Enjoy money back offers on your everyday shopping’.  I wonder if hyphens add to the expense of advertisements and someone has been given a bonus for eliminating them?

If I didn’t know that HBoS was part of the Lloyds Banking Group, and that the Bank of Scotland’s bad loans and arms-trade links put it in the bottom ten on the Move Your Money Switching Scorecard, I would have been put off by the appalling punctuation. Trust them with my money, when they so cruelly neglect the poor wee hyphen?

A closer view  of the appalling blank space between 'money' and 'back'.

A closer view of the appalling blank space between ‘money’ and ‘back’.

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‘No job to [sic] small’ – except checking the spelling of ‘to/too’?

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No_job_to_Small

‘No job to [sic] Small’ – except checking your spelling?

I saw this on the side of a van belonging to an organisation offering expertise in various trades. Judging by the number of trades listed it seems likely that more than one person had to approve the lettering for the van – or was it just the signwriter who made the mistake and they couldn’t be bothered asking for it to be corrected? I restrained myself from inserting the missing ‘o’ with a pen.

 

Fraser Premier Trades - they do many things, but don't ask them to spell! That's apparently 'to' big (or small?) a job!

They do many things, but don’t ask them to spell! That’s apparently ‘to’ big (or small?) a job!

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Café Rouge should be blushing! The French chain that doesn’t know French?

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Yes, I know this site is largely about corporations’ mistakes in English, but I couldn’t resist mentioning the egregious mistakes in French made by Café Rouge, supposedly a chain of French restaurants offering ‘a taste of France’.

BIÈRES BLONDE ET BRUN? Pardon, monsieur, vous voulez dire <<BIÈRES BLONDES ET BRUNES>>?

BIÈRES BLONDE ET BRUN? Pardon, monsieur, vous voulez dire <<BIÈRES BLONDES ET BRUNES>>?

Their windows advertise ‘bières blonde et brun’. Surely even beginners in French know that adjectives should agree in gender and number with the nouns to which they refer?

This wasn’t just a one-off mistake either, as inside the Edinburgh branch I also came across ‘eau mineral’. Bien sûr, it should have read ‘eau minérale’!

VINS BLANCS ET ROUGES  - They get the adjectives right when it comes to wine at least!

VINS BLANCS ET ROUGES – They get the adjectives right when it comes to wine at least!

Eau, eau! Another mistake!

Eau, eau! Another mistake!

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Is your stationery business slow or is it ‘stationary’?

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Shop front in Thurso

If one were to take this literally, one might assume that this shop in Thurso is not doing a brisk trade in watch batteries! Signwriters often confuse ‘stationery’ with ‘stationary’ .

Yes, I know that in the About section I state that my target is not small businesses. However, as signwriters could easily get together and compile a list of common mistakes and put this on the internet for reference, I feel it is acceptable for me to lump them together as one big industry and to consider them fair game.

The use of ‘stationary’ for ‘stationery’ must be brought to a stop!

‘Work colleague’ – an infuriating redundancy!

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Few corporate clangers annoy me more than redundancies, and the king of these is ‘work colleague’, beloved of the BBC. I have lost count of the [REDUNDANCY: ‘number of’] times I have wanted to hurl rocks at my radio when some halfwit announcer unthinkingly reads a script written by a feeble-minded colleague in which this inanity appears. (In case you didn’t realise, a colleague is, by definition, someone with whom one works!)

I think I noticed this hideous phenomenon about ten years ago. I looked it up on Google Ngrams this morning. As you can see from the chart below, it hardly existed before 1960 and seemed to proliferate from 1990. Could the internet have something to do with it?

Google Ngram of 'work colleague'.

This chart shows the occurrence of the redundancy ‘work colleague’ in books. The use of this ghastly phrase took off in the 1990s. Click on the image to see the original Google Ngram.

Am I over-exaggerating the absolute necessity of avoiding unnecessary extra words? 😉

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Everyday abuse

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Everyday

The pastries at Caffè Nero are pretty average apparently – they are ‘everyday’. But are they baked every day?

Yes, I know that some dictionaries don’t agree with me on this, but for me there is a distinction between ‘everyday’, an adjective meaning ordinary or humdrum, and which is pronounced with a stress on the first syllable, and ‘every day’, meaning something that happens on every day, and in which ‘day’ receives the same stress as ‘ev’.

Why would you want to water down the English language and jettison this distinction?

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Who wins or picks up the award?

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Award winning cider

‘Pick up an award, winning cider today’ or ‘Pick up an award-winning cider today’? Click on this image to read the ambiguous text at the bottom of the poster.

The poster exhorts one to: ‘Pick up an award winning cider today.’ Without punctuation this is ambiguous.

On the one hand, it could mean that one should pick up an award today and win some cider. If this were the intended meaning there should have been a comma between ‘award’ and ‘winning’.

On the other hand, it could mean that one should pick up a cider that has been given an award. This is, of course, the intended meaning, and the poster should have been punctuated as follows: ‘Pick up an award-winning cider today.’

The poor, neglected hyphen!

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Traffic calmed area. Did it?

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Traffic calmed area

Not only can one find life here, but one is also informed that traffic calmed the area. What was it like before the cars, then? …Or could it perhaps be that a hyphen is missing?

Ah, yes. This used to be a really noisy and lively neighbourhood until they put the roads in. You wouldn’t believe the territorial disputes between birds, the rutting of the deer and the comings and goings of the badgers. Thank goodness the traffic is now here. Since the buses, cars, lorries, motorbikes and bicycles came it’s been a haven of peace and tranquillity. The traffic has really calmed the area.

…Or has a hyphen been omitted from this sign? Should it read ‘traffic-calmed area’?

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