March 5, 2014
Since when did ‘shop’ become a transitive verb?
There was a time when you ‘went shopping’, ‘did the shopping’ or ‘shopped for’ something. You didn’t shop anything – or anyone, unless you were some kind of criminal.
So I was surprised when I checked out Marks and Spencer’s nice new website recently to find several instructions to ‘Shop this outfit’. And it doesn’t stop there: there’s ‘Shop new arrivals’, ‘Shop more occasion outfits’ and ‘Shop our edit’ (how is that even a sentence?). In fact, it’s all over the shop (sorry).
And it’s not just Marks and Spencer copywriting. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m noticing this usage everywhere. Perhaps it’s one of those crimes against English invented by the fashion industry (see also ‘a trouser’). Do they think it sounds better? And if so, why?
My dictionary is very clear on the subject. Intransitive verb, often followed by ‘for’. (The only time it is transitive is with the secondary meaning: British slang for ‘inform on’.)
And taking the lead from David Marsh’s wise and entertaining grammar book For Who the Bell Tolls, I can also use a pop song to prove my point. It’s called Shoppin’ for Clothes. If it’s good enough for the Coasters…
January 19, 2014
It’s the time of year when you expect to see garish posters outside shop windows advertising their latest reductions.
But I’ve noticed that it’s not enough these days just to use the word ‘sale’ to entice shoppers: you need to go one better than your neighbour in describing the extent of the savings. Read the rest of this entry »
December 23, 2013
I enjoy collecting crimes against English and I’ve enjoyed reading through this year’s crop. Here are some of my favourites. Read the rest of this entry »
November 20, 2013
I wonder whether First Great Western read this blog? Unlikely, I know, but they appear to have improved something that I commented on here. Read the rest of this entry »
October 4, 2013
The words ‘due to health and safety reasons’ in a notice are a pretty good indication that someone hasn’t thought properly about what they are saying. Read the rest of this entry »
June 13, 2013
One day, every business in the country will have the word ‘solutions’ in its name, whether it actually solves anything or not.
Even if, perhaps, it is part of the problem and not part of the solution. Read the rest of this entry »
March 17, 2013
Some organisations like to put their corporate branding on every piece of communication that goes out to their customers. There are times, though, when that might not actually be a good idea. Read the rest of this entry »
December 31, 2012
Somewhere in the middle of 2012 I found myself asking ‘Since when did disruptive become a compliment?’ In my youth, being disruptive would be something you were sent to the head teacher for. And not so long ago it might have got you before a magistrate. But now it has become something to aspire to. Read the rest of this entry »
December 23, 2012
Every year, LinkedIn release their list of the most over-used buzzwords in people’s profiles. And every year, journalists write about it. Partly because newsroom cuts mean that churnalism is getting more prevalent. And partly because writers can’t resist news (even if it’s spurious non-news) about words. Read the rest of this entry »
December 2, 2012
Seen on a packet of Christmas cards: ‘Hand Crafted’.
Translation: someone in a factory in China has glued a cardboard star on the front. By hand.