4 Comments

My pet hates 1

I am your grumpy old editor who surfs the Internet in search of awkward websites. I also want to share with you some of my pet hates and give advice in general about online writing, including email. This is my first blog entry.

Jargon – Loved and hated, jargon is shorthand for what people do in their department or company, but they mustn’t assume the rest of the world knows what they do. If you are planning to launch a website, please explain jargon to people outside your own world.

In my last five years with Reuters, I was managing editor of the company’s global internal website in London. I often had to push back when the head of a business department sent me a submission to publish because it was full of jargon. I had to ask for an explanation because I knew that few people outside that particular department would understand some of the expressions.

This remains one of the main challenges I face in my work as a copywriter.

I welcome your comments.

Rolf Soderlind

http://www.absolutwriting.com/ absolutwriting

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4 comments on “My pet hates 1

  1. Will you be dealing with oxymorons? They can be bittersweet.

  2. John,

    I actually find some oxymorons rather sweet, if a bit bitter sometimes. I am more worried about the occasional moron.

    Cheers,
    Rolf

  3. One of my pet hates is the misuse of prepositions.

    Sometimes they’re simply redundant, as in “meet with”.

    At other times they arise out of confusion, as in “comprises of”, probably confused in the writer’s mind with “consists of”.

    Sometimes a preposition is needed, but the wrong one is picked, as in “bored of”, now even heard on the BBC.

    And of course the merely ignorant “off of”.

    Perhaps you could give us a grumpy editor’s take on this?

    • Thanks for raising this issue. A preposition such as “meet with” is obviously rooted in U.S. English. But “comprises of” is clearly just a lack of knowledge.

      All this boils down to the fact that English is spoken and written by people all over the world. Many cultures have had an influence on English and the Internet now plays a major role in transforming the language, for better or worse.

      Mick Jagger once sang: “I’m just waiting on a friend.” It’s the wrong preposition of course (he wasn’t waiting on tables) but this is a literal translation from German: “Ich warte nur auf einen Freund.”

      It works in a song with street cred and in colloquial English, but you wouldn’t use it in serious writing.

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