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My pet hates 14 – leaving out a crucial word to save space

There is a trend in writing, no doubt started on the Internet, to use incomplete sentences to confirm that an order has been dispatched, an installation has been completed or a product launched.

I order books and other items from Amazon, and invariably receive an email: “Your Amazon.co.uk order has dispatched.”

This reads as if the order has dispatched something, but what? It cannot dispatch itself. There is a word missing here and it’s been as in has been dispatched. So, the order has now been shipped. Thanks.

Installing software on your PC? Once it’s done, a popup window will often tell you: “Installation has completed.”

What has the installation completed? Again, it should read: Installation has been completed. Never mind the missing word the as in The installation ….

Here is a grammatically correct suggestion: Your installation is complete.

I realise computer programmers are trying to save space, but this trend has spread to newspapers and I am not talking about headline writing, which is a clever old skill aimed at grabbing the attention of the reader.

I am talking about news stories. This week The Times of London wrote: “The first popular web browser was Netscape Navigator, the original version of which launched in 1994.”

Netscape didn’t launch itself. It was launched by someone. Hence: … which was launched in 1994.

We run the risk of being increasingly guided in the use of the English language by computer geeks!

I welcome your comments.

Rolf Soderlind

http://www.absolutwriting.com/ absolutwriting


One comment on “My pet hates 14 – leaving out a crucial word to save space

  1. Just reading your blog has opened my eyes, I find myself in total acceptance of this ungrammatical English phrasing. In fact I’m probably replicating it right now without even realising it. HELP!! I’ve been Computer-geek hacked brain-wise!! x

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