The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: King’s English

Saturday, 4th February 2017

People on Twitter who spell their names all lower-case. To paraphrase Kingsley Amis on people who write onto as one word: I have no great objection, though I have found by experience that no one persistently using lower-case when typing his own name writes anything much worth reading. Amis goes on:

There seems to be a similar connection, or lack of one, between starting lines of verse with a lower-case letter and inability to write a worth-while (not worthwhile) poem.


Wednesday, 8th April 2015

Tax, n.

Pronunciation: /taks/
Etymology: < Old French taxer < Latin taxare to censure, charge, compute.

1. Doms. A compulsory contribution to the support of government.
2. Non-doms. Contronymous to sense 1: A discretionary contribution to the support of government.

When I was young there was a tax-avoiding thing called a nondom, pronounced nond’m; now, the evidently same thing is a non-dom, with a fully rounded second syllable…

Tuesday, 10th February 2015

Kingsley Amis noted in 1966 that ‘The treatment of media as a singular noun […] is spreading into the upper cultural strata’, and thirty-odd years later that it ‘looks likely to prevail’. It has prevailed and that is no tragedy. However, a plural noun having been turned into an uncountable one, those now throwing around the phrase social medias may be going a bridge too far – by going ahead and counting it. But at present social medias has not spread beyond the middle cultural strata; the, ahem, social mediae.

Monday, 15th September 2014

A study of seven hundred and five laptop keyboards has revealed that, as a result of what I call “wordpress” – the new-fangled fashion for running two words into one (hashtags, for example, and the barbarisms that accompany them) – the satisfying patinas on aged space bars are gradually becoming duller.

Wednesday, 16th July 2014

In the 1940s the Bernaysian version of public relations had caught on enough to be abbreviated for the first time. The same decade marked the end of received pronunciation’s heyday. By a coincidence symbolic of societal change in the short twentieth century, PR came in just as RP went out.

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