John Humphries should eat his words

John Humphries should eat his words

SO – John Humphries is in a rage about the use of the word SO at the start of sentences because he finds it irritating and absurd. He calls it a noxious weed which has invaded everyday speech.

BUT in attacking SO as an unsuitable word to begin a sentence, he has conveniently ignored his own literary misdemeanour – using the word AND at the start of preliminary questions on BBC TV’s ‘Mastermind’. You must have noticed it…”AND your name is….AND your job is…AND your chosen subject is?” He does it with each and every contestant.

BUT like so many self-opinionated broadcasters, he seems blissfully aware of his own shortcomings.

Like Jon Snow on Channel 4 TV News who begins every other question with the meaningless phrase “I mean…”. He’s also taken to saying “Cut to the Quick” [hurt someone's feelings] when he clearly means “Cut to the Chase” [ get to the point].

Both of them are habitual users of the word WELL at the start of sentences. AND they’re not alone. The British people as a whole tend to use the word WELL to begin a sentence. It’s a sort of “let me see now” sort of word.

BUT John Humphries who, as a journalist and author, prides himself on his knowledge of the English language, should know better than anyone how many snappy news paragraphs in newspapers begin with AND and BUT. AND novelists like me thrive on the use of the two conjunctions at the start of a line to inject a bit of urgency into the narrative. SO I suggest John eats his own words but after, of course, mincing them AND adding a touch of flavouring.

  • 22 Jun, 2015
  • Posted by tony edwards
  • 1 Tags

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