Friday, 8 June 2012

Bad Language

The English language is falling into disrepair.

In restaurants, it seems to have become the norm for us to be referred to as "guys". We are not guys. We are sir and madam. One of us may be, at a stretch, a guy. The other is quite clearly not.

It very much annoys me when someone calls me "yourself". "Can I get anything else for yourself?" Yourself? Don't you mean you? Can I get anything else for you?

And most annoyingly, these two are often combined... "Can I get anything else for yourselves guys?"

I've also seen professionals, including solicitors who you'd think would speak English, say that they'll "revert" to me. How can someone revert to me? Am I their natural form? Are they only temporarily someone else, and at midnight they'll revert to me? They mean reply.

Anyway, here's another one, in a contract from a very, very large contract management company.

The contract says:

The Supplier shall submit its invoices in accordance with the payment plan set out in each Order, in the absence of which it shall submit an invoice on the completion of the Services.

We sought clarification on this, so their contract manager said:

"I am not sure I understand what you are asking, please can you digress a bit more."

I certainly could. Lord knows, I can digress for England. But I don't see how that's going to help her to understand the contract.

I'm afraid that I can't even imagine what she actually means to say.

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