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June 4, 2019

Mark Petchey is still at it with the malapropisms: he has just referred to Wawrinka having only a slither of the court to aim at.

No, Petchey. He had a sliver to aim at. A sliver. Repeat after me: a sliver.

From → Uncategorized

  1. Mark Brafield permalink

    Not quite a malapropism but I was once talking to someone about how much I enjoyed reading
    e-books on my ‘Kindle’. ‘Ah yes’, she replied ‘I would really like a kimble’. From then on, every time that I mentioned my ‘Kindle’ in the conversation – and, rather naughtily, I deliberately did so several times – she echoed me exactly with an appreciation of the ‘Kimble’.

  2. Simon Carter permalink

    That’s an odd one; the only Kimble I can bring to mind is Richard from The Fugitive

  3. auke permalink

    Dear Mr Robshaw,

    as you may remember my mentioning on your blog before, I’m maintaining a selfmade English dictionary, and have been following your output on internet a bit since your tv-appearances.
    At the moment I’m clearing off some notes I accumulated, and underneath your name are written down three questions. Please, feel free to use them for new blog entries, if you feel like addressing them.
    1. I have some trouble with the meaning of the word ‘expedient’. It’s vague. Do you use it? And when?Do you consider it a bit vague as well? Could you elucidate it somewhat? (In my dictionary: expedient – appropriate, advisable, opportune/ suitable or efficient for accomplishing a purpose, advantageousness, “a person who places expedience above principle”, “there’s a certain emotional expedience to claiming him as a tragic victim of homophobia”.
    2. Why do you hate prose poems?
    3. What’s the grammatical term for the following. It’s a point of notice to me since we don’t do this in Dutch: the use of ‘his’ instead of ‘him’ in this example > “subsequent police investigations led to his being charged”, and ‘my getting involved’ instead of ‘me getting involved’ in this example > “my friendship to each of you precludes my getting involved”.


  4. Simon Carter permalink

    Hi Auke, in case Brandon is too busy I’ll have a go at expedient for you. It means a way of saying or doing something that isn’t necessarily the most principled but does the job. For example you might say “it was expedient to apologise” even though you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong but the apology prevented an argument. I suppose it could also be used in a more practical way, “it seemed expedient to check the oil” but that would sound overly formal to most people.
    It’s a word that probably occurs more in newspapers (political expediency) than in spoken English.

  5. Hi Auke. And thanks, Simon – I agree. ‘Expedient’ means practical but not necessarily principled.

    On the point about prose poems – I was being a bit facetious when I said I hated them, but generally I like prose (fiction or non-fiction) to have a narrative, and prose poems often don’t have that.

    On the last point about using ‘his’ rather than ‘him’, and my’ rather than ‘me’ in certain constructions: in the cases you mention, a gerund is used (being charged; getting involved) and a gerund is more like a noun than a verb, in English. So ‘getting involved’ is to be seen as the equivalent of ‘involvement’ – and one would, of course, say ‘my involvement’, not ‘me involvement’. But I should say that is rather formal, correct English: in ordinary colloquial speech one would say ‘him being charged’ or ‘me getting involved’.

  6. auke permalink

    Hello Brandon and Simon, thank you both for your kind responses! All is very clear now, which is nice. And I must say I am slightly relieved as well, because posting my itemized remarks always makes me feel a bit like a stalker and a psycho afterwards. Which I am, of course…

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