On the naughty step - conduct that deserves a ticking off

9th May 2014 at 01:00
This week: supermarket grammar

After years of being taken to task for confused greengrocer's signs (or should that be greengrocers'?), you would have thought the slick corporate machine of Tesco and its army of besuited executives would have a strong command of the Queen's English.

But the company, one of the world's largest supermarket chains, was judged to be the winner of this year's Idler Academy Bad Grammar Award for a string of grammatical howlers.

The supermarket fought off a strong shortlist to bag the dubious honour, including the Army, the NHS and England's very own shadow education secretary and former television historian Tristram Hunt.

Hadley Freeman of The Guardian and the BBC's Jeremy Paxman were those sitting in judgement for the award, described as a "thrilling X Factor for pedants". According to them, Tesco was guilty of mistakes such as "Less waste. Less lorries" and also for describing its orange juice as the "most tastiest".

Ms Freeman and Mr Paxman also smugly wagged their fingers at Mr Hunt, who was runner-up for his "mangled" use of the English language when he conjured up the sentence "ongoing continuing professional development". But despite his blithering, Mr Hunt was pipped to the post by what the judges described as the supermarket chain's "clear, sheer stupidity".

So, for the heinous crime of pushing our language through the mincer, it's off to the naughty step with Tesco.

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