The fascination of train announcements

There is something quite fascinating about the announcements made on trains. Is there any form of public speaking that varies in quality more. Sometimes the announcements can be delivered in an unbelievably apathetic tone, like it’s the last thing the train guard ever wants to do. A lot of it just sounds plain rotten. Sometimes […]

The newfangled apostrophe

Outrage has broken out among pedants everywhere, as it was revealed that Waterstones has dropped the apostrophe from its name. Waterstones is hardly the first business to make this move. For instance, Woolworths was, up until the 1980s, called Woolworth. But people called it Woolworths, so the company adopted it. Note how many people also […]

Happy twenty-twelve

Happy new year. What are you calling it? “Two thousand and twelve” or “twenty-twelve”? It was a topic of conversation among my friends on New Year’s Day. There is also an interesting article by Ben Zimmer. I have long been in the “twenty-twelve” camp. I said “twenty-eleven” and “twenty-ten”. I often even said “twenty oh […]