Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Firstly, let me state that I am not an English teacher, nor an expert in English grammar and the usage of vocabulary, and I am definitely not a pedant. But let's face it, there are some instances of "newspeak" which just have the teeth grinding away and the blood pressure rising. For instance, who doesn't hate that over-used term of a few years ago, "grow the company"?. All those people who had been to training sessions, done their MBAs, standing in front of white boards and telling us how we all had to "work smarter, not harder" so that together we could "grow the company". That is, of course, provided the "dynamics" were correct.

Recently I find myself having to suppress the urge to scream every time I hear - or, even worse, read in job vacancy ads - the term "bored of", such as "Are you bored of your current job". Bored of? Where the hell did that come from? Listen clearly: it's "bored with" or "tired of"; it is not "bored of". Not only is it wrong, it just sounds wrong. When I first started hearing it I assumed it had popped up in an SMS and had somehow floated out into the ether to be used by everybody under a certain age. But, no, before long I actually saw that term used in an advertisement by a very large, quite prestigious employment agency.

There are so many instances of word usage which really annoy, but with the lead-up to that most beautiful time of year, Christmas, one of our main department store chains is in the running to win my Most Annoying Use of the English Language Award. Now, I can only assume that the advertising agency which the company employed to come up with the slogan for encouraging the population of Australia to boost the economy by handing over millions of dollars for Christmas gifts is staffed by people for whom English is not their first language. Okay, I will keep you in suspense no longer. Here it is, the slogan which is printed on brochures, displayed on signage everywhere you look in the store, and which is sadly now imprinted upon my brain: 


You did get that, didn't you? It's "The Power of Give". It's not "The Power of Giving" or "The Joy of Giving"; it's "The Power of Give". That's like saying "The fun of ski" or "The thrill of drive" or "The pleasure of read" or "The benefit of walk". Who on earth came up with such an incredibly stupid slogan? What is even more puzzling is who on earth - no doubt while pocketing a large salary - decided it was a good one to run with? Honestly, if it wasn't for those loyalty points, I would take my Christmas shopping elsewhere.

Hey, large department store that I love - and you know who you are - I have one thing to say to you: give the give the flick if you want to grow the company.

Attribution: images courtesy of Microsoft Clipart

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