Getting it right

7 Jun

I was at a social event organised by some people at my wife’s work a fortnight back.  The questions had been set by the organisers, and they really would have been better to look up questions for quizzes on the internet. This wasn’t entirely because I don’t read celebrity gossip magazines or watch the same soap operas as they do. Some of the questions were frankly misleading. One round concerned the identification of various COUNTRIES by their drawn outlines. One answer turned out to be Tasmania. Now, Tasmania is an Australian state, and in no way can it be described accurately as a country. Another question referred to ‘Public schools’. Over here in the UK for reasons lost in the mists of time, Public Schools are the most expensive and poshest of all the schools, and are in no way ‘Public’. If the term used had been ‘State schools’ it would have been accurate. John Cleese used to have a parrot called Holy Roman Empire, on the grounds that it wasn’t holy, roman or an empire, and neither was the Holy Roman Empire. And why do Americans insist that ‘Football’ refers to a game which only peripherally involves kicking a ball, while calling a game that is almost entirely about kicking a ball, ‘Soccer’?
You really have to choose the right words and to express your meanings, ones that are geared to your audience. Otherwise you risk giving out the wrong information. When you are writing you need to understand the

Incidentally, I enjoyed the quiz evening, on a social level.


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