Supersizing speech

John Humphreys explains why we need to reclaim language:

The supermarkets are masters of the art – always trying to persuade us how thrilling it will be if we share our shopping experience with them. Note “experience”. We don’t shop any longer. We have an “experience”.
At the heart of this hype process, in which the “experience” is all, individual words are given an even sharper 180 degree change of direction. Take “enjoy”. You’re sitting in a restaurant, the waitress brings your meal and, with a sweet smile, says, “Enjoy!” I want to say: “Don’t you know that ‘enjoy’ is a transitive not an intransitive verb? You should say, ‘Enjoy it!’ not ‘Enjoy!’.”

Amen. Out there, a small but hardy band of stalwarts do care, for instance about why the New Yorker would refer to a “six-liter bottle of Bordeaux” when it might have used the term “Imperial of Bordeaux” instead. (Personally speaking, the Babu likes his wine in Jeroboams, if not Nebuchadnezzars, but an Imperial will do in a pinch.)

One comment

  1. the waitress brings your meal and, with a sweet smile, says, “Enjoy!” I want to say: “Don’t you know that ‘enjoy’ is a transitive not an intransitive verb? You should say, ‘Enjoy it!’ not ‘Enjoy!’.”This reminds me of the Eunice de Souza poem, ‘Return’:My neighbours want to know,did I enjoy?Thinking of the wrought-iron gateand the cotton treethat managed only one flower every summerI agree, perhaps enjoymentshould have no object.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s