10th March 2016

So!… What Are We Doing To The English Language?

(Another ranty blog – sorry!)

I’ve been media training a lot of clients recently, which always makes me almost forensically examine interviews I hear on t’wireless – even more than I normally do – and I’ve noticed two, in my opinion, corruptions of the English language creeping into common parlance with annoying regularity.

Firstly the word: ‘so’ which some people seem incapable of starting a sentence without.

Interviewer: “Tell me about this new cure for cancer?”

Interviewee: “So! We’ve been working for many years…”

Interviewer: “But why did the bank decide to foreclose on this business?”

Interviewee: “So! We gave the owners many chances to reform…”

No!!  It means and adds nothing. Where has it come from?

And, secondly, the really (REALLY) annoying habit of ending every (blooming) sentence with a question?

Arrgh!

It is SO distracting. I’ve been known to switch radio stations if there’s an interviewee (or sometimes, even more annoying, interviewer!) who does it.

Everything is NOT a question.

While I’m in danger (once again) of being labelled Victor (or Vicky) Meldrew, there is a serious point here.

We live in a hugely noisy world, where achieving cut through for important messages is extremely difficult and, when we get the valuable opportunity to present our point of view to an audience, we need to ensure we grab it with both hands and avoid anything that distracts

Good communication needs to be clear, concise and memorable – for the right reasons.

That’s all.

By Sandy Lindsay MBE, Tangerine Group Chair