The extract below appeared in The Telegraph today. The Telegraph is a daily British newspaper of supposedly high reputation. The inability of its writers and editors to write English, demonstrated below, will cast doubt on that reputation.
The author of the above article is Dr David G Green, who is described as “director of the think tank Civitas”. I have always held think tanks in the lowest regard, and the outrageous and woolly thinking displayed in this article would seem to give weight to my feelings.
In this sentence the pronoun “it” refers back to “The inability to speak a host country’s language”. The writer is therefore saying that “the inability to speak a host country’s language is a very reasonable requirement of any immigrant.” What he means to say (however absurdly) is that ”the ability to speak a host country’s language is a very reasonable requirement of any immigrant.”
This would be comic if this display of bad writing were not at the start of so arrogant and racist an article preaching the necessity for immigrants to Britain to speak English.
Learners of English may take heart from the fact that some quarters of the British and American press, radio and television are full of examples of poor English. This is particularly true of the BBC and CNN, but it appears that the shortcoming is spreading to media of hitherto higher repute.
Answer: When he’s a professor
Which I am not. But I suppose I should take it as a kind of perverted praise that Prof. Mercy L Candelaria (International Student Adviser and Professor, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the East, Manila, Philippines) should lift an entire webpage of mine, make a few perfunctory changes, and then publish it online claiming it as his (her?) own. (more…)
Throw away your business vocabulary books! No need to take those MBA’s! To understand all the meltdown / willful panic / Armageddon / tailspin stuff that’s going on around the world’s financial centres look no further than this email received from a friend today:
That seems to sum it all up very nicely, without any need for that troublesome business vocabulary stuff.
Mixed metaphors are a well-known class. Now we have mixed anecdotes, from a former president of Harvard University no less.
In an interview on Bloomberg, Larry Summers referred to the activities of the US government as being similar to “King Canute plugging the dam”.
Larry—former and possible future US Treasury Secretary—seems to be mixing up two ancient European anecdotes that were not even synchronous:
When someone who once headed one of the world’s most important universities and may soon head the world’s largest bank (the new soviet-style US Treasury) gets such trivial matters confused, is it any wonder that the US financial system is collapsing? We can only hope that if Larry does become US Treasury Secretary again he will not be prone to mixed currencies.
Or sometimes they write 0:00PM. Or even 12:00AM. Or 12:00PM. I mean…what do they mean? Is it midnight or noon? I mean, AM means before noon, right? And PM means (more…)
Fair enough, you ask the same question to 5 different lawyers and you get 6 different answers. But everyone knows about lawyers. Most of the time there just aren’t enough answers to go round. I mean, how come there are more questions than answers in the world? Or, put another way (more…)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned on the tele in the middle of a film. It looks like a good movie so you sit down and start watching it. You don’t know its name but it really grabs you. I wonder who made this film? I must get it on DVD. I wonder what it’s called. And you watch it all the way to the end. Then you watch (more…)
Why is it always the last place you look that you find the thing you’re looking for? Does that happen to you too? You know, you lose something–like your keys or your nail-clippers. You look for them everywhere. You look in the bath room. You look in your pockets. You look under your bed. You look in the living-room. You open all your (more…)
WHEN I WAS A BOY, I LEARNED TO READ. BUT FIRST I LEARNED THE ALPHABET. AS YOU KNOW, THE ENGLISH ALPHABET HAS SMALL (abc) AND LARGE (ABC) LETTERS. THE LARGE LETTERS ARE CALLED “CAPITAL LETTERS”. GUESS WHICH LETTERS I LEARNED FIRST AS A YOUNG CHILD. SMALL LETTERS OR CAPITAL LETTERS? AND WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE ANYWAY BETWEEN SMALL AND LARGE LETTERS? WELL, I’LL TELL YOU. I LEARNED SMALL LETTERS FIRST. AND THE DIFFERENCE? LARGE LETTERS ARE ALL THE SAME HEIGHT. EXACTLY THE SAME. SMALL LETTERS GO UP AND DOWN. SOME ARE IN THE MIDDLE, LIKE x. SOME GO UP, LIKE b. SOME GO DOWN, LIKE p. THAT MEANS THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT SHAPES AND SIZES. “SO WHAT?”, I HEAR YOU SAY. SO SMALL LETTERS ARE EASIER TO READ. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW A BOOK PRINTED COMPLETELY IN CAPITAL LETTERS? WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY READING ONE? PRETTY DIFFICULT, LIKE THE SOLID BLOCKS OF TEXT IN CAPITAL LETTERS THAT MICROSOFT LAWYERS USE TO MAKE THEIR AGREEMENTS DIFFICULT TO READ. LIKE THIS POST, COME TO THINK OF IT. DON’T AGREE? TRY THE TEST.