JournalismPakistan.com October 1, 2013
Many of us speak English with a forked tongue. Say that in a nice way. Like we mess about with the language, mangling it like laundry without realizing we are doing that.
Yesterday I heard a high profile executive say he has to ‘cope up’ with the situation, whatever the situation was. You don’t cope up, down or sideways. You simply cope. Pretty much like half the emails you get thanking you for reverting back. With due respect, friend, you cannot revert forward so the ‘back’ is redundant.
If you go to the shops they tell you to avail now of the sale. Great, go ahead, but you cannot avail later so the ‘now’ is pointless.
And for those who want to do things later, don’t ‘prepone’ them, that word is not the opposite of postpone. In fact, it doesn’t really exist though it is so prevalent that some dictionaries are thinking of giving it the okay.
Occasionally, when I am listening to the FM channels and the RJs are talking at full speed and mixing up their ‘v’s and ‘w’s the three errors they make frequently are ‘true fact’, ‘very unique’ and ‘each and every one.’ All are delightfully wrong but no one seems to think it necessary to correct themselves.
A friend of mine who sees himself as an exponent of English told me he was fortunate to find an empty space for his car in the parking lot. Just to rib him I said, if it wasn’t empty, it wouldn’t be a space, right, so you can’t find a filled space if you see space as a physical position rather than an empty emptiness. He wouldn’t buy it and we could not have a ‘consensus of opinion’ which is so unnecessary but we all say it.
Pick up the newspaper and it says ‘armed gunman’ attacks couple. Fine but what would an unarmed gunman look like, what would he be carrying and still be called a gunman?
Though I do express the hope that you are never in ‘close proximity’ to him as opposed to distant proximity which would make it an oxymoron.
I don’t know what you’ll think is the ‘end result’ of this little essay but you can drop the end and I’ll still be ‘unexpectedly surprised’ if you ‘join together’ in enjoying it.
By the way this article was not pre-recorded. That one really gets me.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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