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

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January sales – retail crimes (against English)

Poster for 'epic sale'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. Continue reading