Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Standards are Slipping

This morning on the way to work I had the bad luck to be walking behind an illiterate mother and her child. She was explaining to her child that he was going to chess club. Fair enough, you may say. She declared, "Someone's got to go because I want somebody to win that child!" WOW! I thought to myself, the prize for winning is a child - excellent. I realised, however, that the woman meant that she wanted to see somone beat that child at chess. Stupid people! I really get cross when people don't understand the difference between words like "win" and "beat"

One can win a race (by coming first) or win a prize (like in a tombola) but one cannot win ones opponent, one must beat ones opponent in order to win.

Other such things annoy me though, such as the general inability to differentiate between borrow and lend. eg. May I lend your scissors? If someone asks me this I generally reply, "OK, who would you like to lend them to?" which tends to result in blank looks and confusion on the part of the person whom I assume would like to borrow my scissors.

Of course then there's "can" and "may" which everyone has been told in English class. You say "Can I go to the toilet" and the teacher says "I'm sure you can" so you get up to go but then the teacher says "Where are you going?" leading to confusion, and finally realisation that you should have said "May I go to the toilet" since you were asking permission, not asking whether it is possible. Irritating when you're busting for the loo, but still a fair point.

Ok, I may sound like a pedant, but really it's annoying. Which reminds me...

The shop at the bottom of my street does excellent breakfasts. However, the sign in their windows says:
"Now open Sunday's"
I'm sure you can see the problem here. What thing belonging to Sunday must I open immediately? I thought, before realising that they meant that their fine establishment would now be serving food on a Sunday. There are many many applications for the apostrophe, but that is NOT one of them. Further examples of this ineptitude can be found on the intranet for this company. "CD's for sale" proclaims the sales page. Just one CD is for sale? No, there is a collection. NO NO NO NO NO! It's distressing to see. I can't allow myself to buy something from such an illiterate!

I came across the following on our news-feed:
Shortly after the state-of-the-art Virgin Pendolino train hurtled along the track to reach Manchester from London in just one hour and 53 minutes, overhead power cables snapped, causing chaos on the West Coast main line. One of the worst groups affected were around 60 Manchester United fans who boarded the First North Western 18.51 service from Hazel Grove, which was scheduled to arrive at Old Trafford stadium at 19.35. But just minutes after the service departed Stockport station it ground to an all-too familiar halt. Passengers ended up trapped on the train for three-and-a-half hours until they were escorted off and marched down the track in the dark by British Transport Police.

While I know that football fans can be annoying, I think that they meant to say: "...One of the groups worst affected were around 60 Manchester United fans..."


1 comment:

Bertie said...

This "worst" thing sounds like a freudian slip. The one I really hate is "that will learn you". Aaahhh.