At the risk of ending the term on a sour note - no, let's call it pre-holiday catharsis - here are a few readers' pet hatesI Tim Parker of Ashford in Kent objects "when people say 'fulsome praise' and they think they are using the word 'fulsome' to mean very full, ie good". (The Oxford Dictionary makes this clear, stating that "fulsome praise means excessive, not generous"). Mr Parker also finds "quote" for "quotation" irritating. (Does anyone else shudder at invite for invitation?) Gill Pyatt, head of Barnwood Park School, Gloucester, writes: "Have you noticed how the word 'issues' now pervades every aspect of daily communications? It replaces items, events, topics, themes, thoughts, etc. It is now brought up at the end of meetings rather than AOB. We are asked: 'Are there any other issues?' I perceive issues to refer to copies of journals or magazines or even children from a marriage."
Peter Tallon, an examiner and retired head of English in Staffordshire, adds to the column on May 24, with "me and my friend went out" is not Standard English. He adds: "Neither is 'between you and I', but I have always found the latter more of an irritant." And then I'm afraid he quotes the Secretary of State for Education saying: "One of the things that's the same about David (Blunkett) and II" Oh dear.
Have an enjoyable summer, keeping an ear open for quirks of language. Will the World Cup, the latest Big Brother contenders and Bollywood-mania have added to the changes in English usage this year? Only time will tell.