When is an adjective not an adjective? Crime (against English) of the year.

Just because I have a blog called Crimes against English doesn’t mean I’m a pedant. In fact – if we’re discussing the English language – pedants are my least favourite people after retailers and marketing copywriters. But everyone has their breaking point and I think I’ve found mine.

Earlier this year, I did one of those ‘how good are you at English?’ quizzes. It involved identifying parts of speech. It’s a long time since my grammar lessons at grammar school, so I had to think about it. And I wondered: does knowing what adjectives and nouns are called actually matter?

Well, maybe it does. Because if people knew the difference between adjectives and nouns, you wouldn’t get this.

Continue reading

Shop this outfit. No, actually, please don’t.

Model with 'Shop this outfit' caption

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). Continue reading