Saturday, June 25, 2005


I reckon it's the beginning of the end.

I've been reading what I initially thought was a wonderful book, published in a serious literary imprint, with an exotic setting and a nice arty photo on the cover. I was riveted from the first page. But a little way in, the brakes screeched: I was reading - and I'm not making this up - the words "he was stood". The hero was standing in a doorway. In a literary novel he should not have "been stood" anywhere. In NO novel purporting to be written in halfway decent English should one see the expression "he was stood" - or anything similar. Nor was this a one-off accident. Later, I found a reference to a bunch of characters who "were sat" in a bar. It's not as if this writer was trying to create a colloquial local voice (the novel's hero is supposedly a writer himself and would probably rather have died than use this moronic construction). And the author's biog suggests he's someone who should have known better.

No doubt there'll be plenty wrong with my own book - but at least not that...

I would like to excise from the current use of English the following turns of phrase"

"was sat/stood" - in every permutation;

"concertize" - you don't concertize. You give a concert. Please note that I use 'z' here and not 's' for a reason;

"I'm, like,....and she's, like,....and then I'm, like,...." as a way of explaining who said what;

"Buy your CD's here" - note incorrect use of apostrophe. Not long ago I had an email from a youngster working for a reputable music agency who didn't have a CLUE where to put his apostrophes. If I were the artist he's working for, I'd be worried about my chances.

Oh heck, there has got to be a better way than this to spend a Saturday evening...